Do not look back. And do not dream about the future, either...Your duty, your reward—your destiny—are here and now. –DAG HAMMARSKJOLD
I spend a lot of time deep in my past.
I also spend quite a bit of time wondering about my future.
That leaves very little time for the here and now.
Several years ago, I made a shift.
It wasn't overnight, and it wasn't a huge change, but it was significant for me.
I was never 100 percent where I was supposed to be, I was never 100 percent "present" but I leaned a little harder into the here and now.
It started with my runs.
I stopped racing and I started just running.
I no longer had to hit miles, I no longer racked them up, and I no longer had to prove I could do hard things.
Instead, I ran. I just ran to go for runs.
I stopped sometimes.
I watched the seasons change.
I watched my puppy.
I looked at the trees around me, I paid attention to the sky.
I looked at my surroundings, a lot.
I noticed things...like my breath and the sound of my feet.
I listened to her tag rattle against her collar and I heard the pitter-patter of her little feet too.
I then moved on to baths.
I took them much more often.
I sank into them, I really really sank into the warmth.
It felt like a hug and I just sat.
I lit candles, sometimes.
I made it a bubble bath, sometimes.
I brought wine with me, sometimes.
Sometimes I read or listened to music.
Other times I just sat there, alone, in the quiet.
Then, I started reading more, or again, or more again.
Either way, I started to end my night with a book instead of a screen.
I started to get lost in other stories instead of everyday reality, we all get enough of that.
I read slowly but that's okay, it's amazing how once you start reading more, you want to read more and more.
And I forgot how much I get lost in books and stories and how attached I get to characters.
How much I learn about myself or find myself attracted to a personality.
So, I started to read a lot more.
I started walking as a hobby.
My puppy and I walk and walk and walk.
I can feel my body open up.
I can feel myself calm the hell down.
How can you not with that little face so excited to take in the smells and sights?
She is so so happy on her walks and her joy is kind of everything.
Then, I took a look at my work.
How crazed I get about the mistakes of my past and worried about the future.
The traps I fall into like all of the "what ifs". I play the "what if" game a hell of a lot!
But, I didn't want to wake up again and have killed my joy of this path too so I got a handle on it.
I didn't want to realize that I was living a life of constant nightmares and crying so I needed to fix it.
So, I went to work on fixing my work and what it means to me.
I tried to remember that I am not my mistakes.
That I need thicker skin, most times.
I then realized that I can take some breaks.
I can clear my head.
I have the right people around me that have my back.
People smarter than me that work hard and keep me informed.
I found a way to start problem-solving again and being much more solution focused - I had forgotten I can do that.
I deal with things one at a time.
I try to not get too wrapped up in my self-made traps and I am learning a different style and approach.
I am not always and forever in the "here and now".
It's not who I am or how I tick, but I am trying and I am getting a little bit better.
And the most incredible thing I have noticed is, I do like noticing things.
I love watching the lake I run by change with the seasons.
I love taking in the colors of summer and the bitter gray of the winters in NY.
I love how many trips we now get to fit in and I love that the kids realize I am around and I love love love that I no longer feel like someone is standing on my chest.
Your duty, your reward—your destiny—are here and now.