A little fun to start my very first post…
Think back to roughly this time last year… what were you doing? Possibly some great memories, maybe it was a difficult season. Recapture those feelings… what was it like to be you 365 days ago?
What about in a years time? What will you be doing? What hopes and dreams do you have? Where would you like to be and with who? What do you believe your life could be like this time next year?
Lets go back again but this time only a month… If you found it difficult to remember last year this should be a little easier. What were you doing on this day last month? What was work like if you were working? What was home like? Who were you with? Try and remember the nuances of that day.
And now (can you guess where we are going?) this time next month… Where will you be? As I’m writing this we’re about a month off our holiday so I have pretty clear ideas. What will you be doing, in what way may life be different to now? What would you like to think you would be doing?
Just before we finish this, what about last week… This one should be easy, but don’t just pass over it. Do you remember what you were feeling? Was it a good day, bad day, indifferent? And next week… What will be happening, I’m guessing you will have some more concrete ideas about next week than you did for next year but maybe not. What does life hold for you this time next week?
What were you doing yesterday, what were you being..? And where will you be tomorrow, what will you be doing?
What about an hour ago….?
What have you got planned an hour from now…?
5 minutes ago…? 5 minutes from now…?
1 minute ago…? A minute from now…?
Which leads nicely to THIS MOMENT RIGHT NOW? It is the only time we can ever be sure of… and yet that moment has gone and it is another moment. How aware are you of your life RIGHT NOW. There are countless thoughts going on in your brain, so many feelings in your heart and soul. You have beliefs, some you are sure of, others less so. You have dreams and desires within you. You have so much right now.
And the environment you are in, take a look at it. Have a look outside if you’re indoors. This is your world right now. Some things will be different tomorrow (If your in the UK the weather certainly will be), maybe lots will be different. Hone in on who you are BEING right now, forget the doings. What is here for you right now?
I did a similar exercise to that on a course I have recently been on and found it incredibly powerful. You see I don’t know about you but I spend so much of my time in either the past or the future. In fact I have probably spent all of my life in one of those two places. Of course the paradox is in reality I have actually spent every moment of my life in the moment, we all have, we can only ever exist in the moment. I guess what I really mean is I have allowed my mind and my thinking to only ever be in the past or the future.
It is of course hugely important to take our minds to these places. We go to the past to recall knowledge, to remember where we left our keys and of course to reminisce. We also go there with regret and sorrow. Our future thinking allows us to plan, set goals and dream. There is likely to be elements of worry and stress there too. It is part of our capacity as humans to take our minds to the past and to the future but do we ever stop off on the way to spend time in the now. And when we do, do we give ourselves license to stay there?
My personal revelation recently was just how unbalanced my thinking was. To spend the vast majority of my thinking time not in the now seems a little crazy as that is the only place I actually exist in.
If we don’t move towards a balance we can easily stick in one place. We can get stuck in the past. We can find ourselves in the perpetual process of re-living great moments to bring us some level of fulfillment or re enacting scenes from the past filled with regret and imagining what a better outcome may have brought or countless other versions of living in the past.
Likewise we can live for the future in the belief that once this or that milestone is reached, then we will be happy and fulfilled. Of course we rarely get there, the expectation is often far too specific and the very pressure we put on ourselves to get there stunts our ability to actually get there.
This is really the essence of living life as a WIP (Work In Progress). Everything we do, the relationships we have with our friends, family and colleagues and everything we are is a WORK IN PROGRESS. We find it so easy to get trapped into it all being about the end result, and I rarely think it really is. My wife and I used to plan and dream about what our house would look like when it was finished. It wasn’t in an awful condition when we moved in but work was definitely required. So over the years rooms have been decorated, windows have been replaced, porches rebuilt, gardens re-designed, garages converted etc etc. And every project took us closer to the end result…. Other than it actually didn’t. The end result kept changing for one and then rooms that were decorated first eventually needed decorating again. The reality is of course; this is a project with no end, and that leaves us with a choice. We can either stress that we are not making progress fast enough and be frustrated that it never seems to be finished OR we learn to accept the reality.
By accepting the reality we are then left with the choice of grumbling about this reality or learning to embrace and enjoy it. So, if we are going to take on a project we might as well enjoy the WORK IN PROGRESS!! Viewed through the perspective lens of fun even DIY can be a work in progress to be enjoyed! When we focus on the end result, we can find ourselves stressing about it or living in anticipation of it. We can live for the future, convincing ourselves that when we get there we can then start to enjoy it. It’s the wrong way round… the joy is in the journey.
I’m sure an artist enjoys his finished masterpiece, he may even put it up on show for a while, but its not long before he’s onto the next project. Why? Because the buzz is in the creative journey, the joy and satisfaction is seeing something take shape, and to find joy in the process requires us to embrace and find joy in the moment. Not in the how it used to be, not in the how it could or should be, but in the how it is…now.
You know you’re watching a good film or reading a good book when you don’t want it to end. The beauty is in the journey, the art of great story writing or acting is not in how you depict the hero winning at the end, and it’s in the development of the hero throughout the rest of the story. It’s the journey that captivates us and the countless moments we share with the characters.
So where are you in you’re story right now? Are you in the middle of some exhilarating, heroic conclusion to a chapter or is there some deep plot or character development taking place? Is there more laughter or more tears at the moment (a great story always requires both of course)? Wherever you are, take some time in your day to step back, perhaps evaluate your story but bring yourself to the moment, to the current page of the current chapter and embrace it. Whatever the moment holds for you, you have a choice how to view it and live it. This moment is part of the WORK IN PROGRESS so we might as well enjoy it.
I would love to hear your thoughts and especially your stories about viewing life as a Work In Progress. Leave a comment below or get in touch.
Looking for a shift in your life or have a burning desire to reach some goal? Work with me and let’s start the journey. I am passionate about this stuff and love talking about it and being witness to transformation in people’s lives.