R.S.V.P. YES: Invitation to the Now.
When trouble shows up for the party at your house …
This uncomfortable moment has arrived. It’s here, whether we like it or not. Right here, right now, bring awareness into your experience. Notice what you feel: are you upset? Sad? Angry? Torn apart? Disbelieving? Are you emotionally present with what’s happening in the environment around you? What is your body doing: is your throat tight? Do you have a headache? Are you talking quickly, and loudly? Are you quiet and withdrawn? Are you immobilized?
When we’re troubled, triggered, or feel attacked, we often react almost immediately to what’s happening. Instead of pausing, and Be-ing, we do. We speak. We make a phone call; we research, email or text. We try to do something about the situation. Or, we detach and hover above our concerns in the far-away clouds. We may freeze up, staying stuck in the muddy, thick waters of our thoughts. Up in the sky, we distract ourselves from what worries us via t.v., the internet and social media, books or video games. Or, stuck like hamsters on the ever-spinning wheel of thought-activity, our anxious minds fixate, repeatedly asking us: what if this, or what about that? Do any of these things help us overall? No! Our concerns are still there: the same old problems, those same situations, the same people doing the same things. And we feel stuck. On top of tough challenges, that stuckness is daunting, and it’s difficult. Other times, we avoid predicaments presented to us by withdrawing and hiding from them, stuffing the pain, pretending to ourselves that what hurts or has scared us will simply go away. We run from discomfort and hurdles as if we can change things by not looking at them, sidestepping what has arrived.
Each moment, we are given an invitation to come back into the Now
In a previous blog, I shared how the mindful breath is our ticket: consciously breathing, we can immediately land, coming home to our essence. But how do we know we can be safe in this moment? Safety is a foundational concern. We want to feel that things will be okay. Yet, we cannot control outcomes! So, we must remind ourselves with comfort and self-soothing that we will figure things out. We embrace the unknown of the future and secure ourselves in the Now. Accepting the invitation from our inner being, we come back into the safe haven of Presence. In presence with what Is in the Now, we are paradoxically anchored while embracing the unpredictable. The future will only emerge from this moment, so the best place to be is here, right now. In fact, this moment is all we have. The past is gone and the future has not yet arrived. The only thing we can control is ourselves in this moment. The Now is always the safest place to be, in fact, it is the only place that Is. Everything that ever happened in history took place in a moment, in the Now of that time. The only way we will get to the future is in moments: this moment, then this next moment, and now… there’s this new moment.
Come to the party of the Now
It may be a loud, crazy party filled with undesirable drama. People may be getting beat up at this party. It may be a painfully sad gathering in a hospital, or a nightmarish accidental multi-vehicle highway crash where everyone emerges from their cars wounded. It may be an ugly, traumatic Halloween party where there are real monsters and actual evil. But an event has arrived in your life, and you might as well attend to it.
Partner with the Now, allowing yourself to see and experience the devastation which has arrived, and live fully in this transition you’re facing. Perhaps you’re going through a break-up but find yourself battling the guilt you feel in choosing to leave. You’re worrying about your soon-to-be ex, and whether or not they can manage the heartbreak. You fear they’ll cave in and fall completely apart. You’re anxious about your children. How will holidays go, here forward? Will they be angry at or even hate you for tearing apart the family?
Remember that challenges and pain create growth. They are opportunities for shedding your old, outworn beliefs and patterns. To change, we must change. Mistakes you may have made help your family members to know that imperfections are normal, and that disappointments are part of life. Not fun lessons. Yet, they will learn to find inner strength, grow in grace, see with broader perspective, and stretch. Flexibility and adaptability will help them become healthier and more mature. Navigating mindfully through transition is a skill we all need.
You find relief when you rest your hovering helicopter-self on the landing pad of the present moment.
The answer to, “What should I do?” is “Be right here, right now.”
Be aware as you land in this moment
Stop helicoptering and rest upon the only safe landing pad you have: this moment, Now. Notice your awareness. You are more awake and alive when you can observe what’s happening. Awareness is like sunshine; it’s a skill which grows our wisdom, shining light onto the present so that we can see clearly and make better choices.
With this clarity, we can continue to string together moments of awareness like little lights, guiding our path into the future we want to create.
The present moment is your haven. The more skilled you become at being aware, right here, right now, the braver you’ll find yourself over time. How does that happen? With a combination of directed focus, mindful attention in making personal changes, and through the natural, organic evolution which occurs with consistent new responses to challenges and crises.
The Now is our home
What do we discover? We find that our home is in the Now, and always has been. Time is not magic in and of itself: changes over time only occur as we open up to what Is and adapt accordingly. Awake and aware, we acquire more effective and braver ways of operating,
Developing bravery in both everyday challenges and huge devastations takes mindful effort, and at the same time, it becomes effortless. How? Skills we develop in conscious breathing, allowing what Is, staying with discomfort, and living with awareness in the Now build upon each other. Each practice has a domino effect, and new abilities in one arena can transfer to the others.
The unexpected party is already happening in your house. When we R.S.V.P. Yes, we are ready for whoever and whatever arrives. Present and as grounded as we can be, we’re vulnerable, open, strong and shrewd. With graceful effort and ease, we handle the spills, the messes made, and the broken glass. There is no perfect way to handle things; with awareness, we do what we can, knowing much is out of our control. We are prepared and have begun our bravery training. Over time, we become resilient and wiser. Thank goodness for that, because the uninvited guests will keep arriving. It’s a never-ending party.
Further tips to enacting daily courage are woven throughout Pamela’s book Conscious Bravery.