Now and then you need to be more Now than Then. This was the message above my head on the tube in London. I got off, thinking about this and headed for the V & A museum. Was I stuck in the ‘Then’? Was I stuck in the past?
I knew I was. The past is safe – it’s where we keep our stories which create our labels. LGBTQ, non binary, survivor, victim, superwoman, single mother, divorced, wife, daughter. They are all labels and we can add things like ‘bad mother’, ‘good little wife.’ We may even change from ‘victim’ to ‘survivor’ but they are all still labels we create in the label factory of our past.
I find the ‘Now’ scary. Yes I’ve read the Power of Now and I didn’t completely understand it and it scared me. It states that all we have is the Now. This feels like walking the tightrope of Life. We have no labels to cling to! We can’t even be ‘brave’ as we wobble there without a safety net. (All our safety nets are in this future which does not exist! Aaaagh! Retirement pot, foreign holiday, save the date for our wedding in 2 years’ time, a big birthday.) We only have Now. It’s true but it is scary because it sort of explodes the world we know. I don’t know about you but I want to run back to my baggage which has labels all over it. (single, survivor, victim, brave, teacher, crazy, weird. That last one will not peel off.)
I have a recurring dream of packing big suitcases and running with them, all weighed down and menopausal sweaty. (Why is the menopause so sweaty?) This one particular night I was in a dream where I had the usual heavy luggage and this vertical ladder appeared before me. Should I climb it? I thought ‘Sod it’, dropped the suitcases and walked around it. This voice said ‘There must be an easier way.’ There is. Why was I even thinking of climbing up there with all that baggage?
The trick is to balance the Now and Then. It’s a constant struggle after loss. The other horrible thing your mind does after loss (why are there so many things?) is that it makes the ‘Then’ all rosy. Your ex husband loved his dog. (So did Hitler.) The person who died was perfect. (He drank too much.) Your old job was great 24/7/ (You hated it. So you drank too much.)
Your mind is a joker.
The 361 can help you balance the Then and Now. Now and Then. Sometimes you can focus on Then to see what you learnt, sometimes on Now to set goals. Or not. It’s up to you. That is the point.
You can focus on what you choose.
And once you are more aware of your focus, you will begin to gain clarity about Now and Then. And how they relate. Many times, we are allowing the past to dictate the future. I know I was. I mean. I liked my baggage! And so did other people – which is a weird fact. Don’t let your mind play any more tricks. Get serious about your perspective with a 360 of your life. Then find the one reason that will power you towards balance. Find the one. Find your Now. The 361.
Alice Smith 2019
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