I caught myself in the midst of all of this lopsided, negative, nearly toppling over mess of inner turmoil. I realized that I was completely out of balance – completely blowing everything out of proportion. So, I stopped myself. I stopped the inner dialogue, the mental ranting and raving, the venting to my wife, friends, and colleagues, and I went for a walk. I stopped the incessant mental ranting about all the slights and misdeeds done to me over the past few weeks. I stopped all the mental justification of my actions to some future naysayer. I pulled on my warm fleece, my hat, and my gloves, and walked out into the cold, fresh air even though my legs were tired and sore form a long day of standing and teaching. I stuffed my earbuds into my ears and cranked up the volume and put The Killers on shuffle. Out the door I went allowing the familiar songs to nudge my weary body into movement. I’ve made a vow to get my body moving at least four or five times a week – not to get fit – not to lose weight – but simply to find balance and to BE PRESENT.
In all my frustration, irritation, and plain crankiness, I was not being present. I was clinging and clutching to that frustration, irritation, and crankiness feeling like I was justified in it – feeling like I had a right to justify it and stay wrapped up in it as if the world didn’t and couldn’t understand, and it was me against the world. I was clinging and grasping and holding on as the dialogue looped through my head – playing over and over. I held to the resentment of the recent past and looked to the future to a time when I wouldn’t have these issues – a matter of “only when” and “only if”. Yet I missed what was happening right in front of me. I was missing the Now thinking so much about what had been and what could be forgetting to live.
But those walks with the music echoing in my skull pushed that looping dialogue of self-absorbed prattle out of my mind, and made me acutely aware of the very moment that I was in. I let the inner dialogue go, and realized that I only had Now to deal with myself. It is not the situations in which we find ourselves. It is our reaction to those situations. And the best way to deal with any situation and life in general is to get present and show up like magic – TO BE HERE NOW – and to let go of the resentment, the regrets, and the frustrations of the past and the imaginings of a future that has yet to be and to be present in this very moment.
Over the last week, I have found time for stillness where I have sat with no distractions and simply tried to be with myself. I have found time for movement through the world in a way that I stay with myself and do not allow my mind to carry me away into the endless cycle of self talk. I have found ways to show up like magic for myself. I feel lighter and more alive. I feel lifted up instead of trampled down. It doesn’t mean that I am always successful in turning off the maddening self talk, and that everything is “peachy keen” but here I am showing up for myself and for others.