My dinner dishes don’t always get done after dinner.
There is a chair in my living room that has a continuous pile of laundry to be folded.
Sometimes I forget the kid’s helmet, or swimsuit, or permission slip for school.
The dogs haven’t been bathed for two weeks.
I try to be a calm and guiding teacher to my children, but sometimes I lose it and yell at them and then feel like crap later.
I planned to plant a garden this summer, but never did. I managed to keep six flower baskets alive until the end of August, though. That was something.
And then there’s those days when I can’t seem to find myself amongst the laundry and the dishes and the emails. Where am I? Who have I become?
What happened to that bright, fun enthusiastic person I used to be? I feel like I’m drowning in all of the things that I should be doing, or didn’t do, or did do and now regret.
All I want is to come up for air and stop struggling and find some peace.
If you are like me and many of the people out there, The Little Nag in your head thinks you’re a lousy housekeeper, a mediocre parent and lazy sod who should be doing much more.
We live in a culture where achievement is celebrated and progress is expected. We define ourselves by what we do or what we have done. If you’re not doing something then you’re doing nothing, and you fail at life.
Well, as I’ve mentioned before, The Little Nag is a jerk. That voice in your head that never, ever stops yapping and drives you to depression, fear, anger and madness – that voice is your ego. And your ego is not who you are.
You are a divine and perfect piece of the universe, meant to be here and now and learning how to get through this thing we call life.
And whether you’re a parent that forgot the library books, a spouse that forgot to pick up milk, a pet owner that is just too tired to walk the dog today, or an employee who hit “Reply All” when you should have hit “Reply” – you are doing great. You’re surviving.
Yada yada nice flowery talk, Bobbi, but what do you do about it?
That’s what you do: nothing.
You sit, you breathe, you let the thoughts that come – just go. You focus your attention on your breath, on the feel of the air coming through your nose, on the rise and fall of your chest, on the feeling of your heartbeat as it moves the blood around your body and nourishes it. You become alive and present right now, right here, where everything is just as it should be.
The forgotten pizza order slip for school lunch doesn’t matter right this second. The spaghetti sauce pot soaking in the sink doesn’t need to be washed right now. That email from a client doesn’t need to be answered immediately.
Right now, right here, you are alive, you are breathing, you are safe and warm and perfect. There is nothing wrong in this moment, it just is. Life is lived in this moment. The past is done and gone, the future isn’t here yet. They are only figments of your imagination that don’t really exist. It is only ever right now; not yesterday, not tomorrow, only now.
God said to Moses “I am that I am,” not “I was” or “I will be.” Only “I am.”
“Be still and know that I am” as you are, in the present moment. It is here that you will find peace.
Try this: put down this paper, get comfortable in your seat, rest your hands on your lap or the arms of the chair. Put your feet flat on the ground and relax your shoulders. Now, look around. Just look around and breathe. You may start to notice things that you never noticed before, and be inspired.
See the colours around you, hear the sounds, watch the movement of the leaves in the wind. Notice the way the sun lights up the edges of the clouds.
See, really see, the people around you. They aren’t men or women, tall or short, black or white, they just are, as you are. They are not separate or different than you, they just are.
Life just is, here and now. Reliving the past won’t change it, practicing the future won’t make it happen, all that chatter in your head will only make you crazy. Recognizing the chatter and knowing that it is not you is like coming up for air and realizing that are truly alive. And this is how you live your life, instead of your life living you.