Spotlight on our team - Donna
What is my relationship to the present moment?
My name is Donna, I am a therapist with Talk to The Rainbow and a Mindfulness teacher. I ask myself this question as much as possible throughout the day. Suffering is in our nature, we all suffer, you are not alone. We can find freedom in the present moment.
Sit and watch your thoughts for 10mins (yes, it is possible to do this!) you would soon notice that most of them are self-judging or judging of others and based on in the past or future.
When I did this recently for 30mins I was astonished to notice how much judgement was around and that these judging thoughts would have been going on without me even knowing it!
Let’s consider what this might mean for us. When we go through our day and these thoughts run through our mind out of awareness, we are essentially being driven by them. We might feel we are stuck on a hamster wheel, overwhelmed or on a constant journey of grabbing at some future point where we might feel some sense of self-acceptance, peace or contentment. Whilst we battle along with our daily suffering, we find ourselves lost in a stream of future or past thoughts; anxious, fearful, sad or fantasising about the next holiday, the next night out, the next time I can be with that person, the next drink, grab for the food it goes on and on. We might understand how we are desperately seeking connection to our true selves and to be whatever we are, whoever we decide to be but continually feel a lack of belonging or separation from ourselves as we get blown around by the winds of internal and external conditioning and judgement.
The nervous system and brains capacity to keep us away from having to feel what’s really here in the body is powerful. Some discomfort or unpleasantness comes and are minds take us off into an autopilot trance like state. Of course, we could also acknowledge and celebrate this capacity to avoid feeling what’s present in the mind and body as a blessing as we may have needed this function in the past. In traumatic situations it is essential and for some it’s too much to feel the sadness, guilt, shame, anxiety etc…so we do anything to get away from that pain but it’s here and it’s this avoidance that can disconnect us and create and sustain our suffering. In fact, when we resist the present moment, we can keep ourselves locked into patterns of thoughts and beliefs about ourselves that create even more suffering.
Pausing, slowing down and letting our attention drop into the body momentarily can mean the beginning of a journey of self-acceptance. By simply noticing what is my relationship with the present moment and how that feels in our bodies, mind and heart we can begin a journey of self-discovery that brings peace and contentment. In the seeing is the freeing.
Freedom begins when we stop and take a look inside, allow some space to simply notice what’s around, what am I thinking, sensing, feeling and what urges am I experiencing. Letting it all be here no matter what it is. Giving a voice to the wound that keeps showing itself. Letting it be heard, seen and held in our awareness, being our own care giver.
You may feel angry, agitated, like screaming can you allow this to? Maybe you let a question come in… What does this need? You wait for the answer through the body…the answer could be anything maybe screaming, shaking, a walk, running, dancing, singing or simply stillness, space to be heard, seen and felt.
What is my relationship to the present moment? Can you open to it? it only takes 1 to 3 conscious breaths to begin stepping out of these habitual patterns and begin the rest of your life developing presence and an awareness of the voice inside that is crying out for your attention.
We may feel resistance when we slow down and pause. Can you either open to this resistance which blocks the pain like you are standing at the top of a mountain in a storm with your arms open feeling the wind and rain in your face or simply just notice it in the body?
It is our natural tendency to want to avoid the restlessness, agitation, fear, sadness, frustration, shame etc. that runs through all of us so, be gentle. I would say be kind but I know how hard that is so maybe begin with patience and slowing down, pause, take a look inside and ask what is my relationship with the present moment.
This could be the beginning of a life lived differently, 1 breath, 1 moment each in-breath a beginning again, each out-breath a letting go. When we can allow some space to pause and look inside, we come into the present moment where there is peace because, for the first time we are not in a fight with the present moment, with reality, we are in harmony with ‘what is’