“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.
Always work with it not against it.”
My father has been in the hospital for the past week. He has been losing a lot of weight and has had a persistent cough for a few months now, so finally at the request of his doctor he was admitted to UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. His illness has taken a toll on the whole family. As the doctors give him different tests to try to figure out what is wrong with him, I am hopeful and optimistic that things will be okay. Yet, I can’t help but think about the worst-case scenario of his death. In my fearful mind, I am convinced that he will not get better and that our lives will be changed forever. I rationalize this by telling myself that his body is old and tired, and he already had a break eight years ago when he received a kidney transplant. I also remind myself that we have been lucky to have him alive and healthy for these last eight years. Even though my father and I don’t have a special father-daughter bond, his illness and the idea that I could lose him has made me depressed. I wonder what life without him would be like. He is a big part of my family tapestry. In my family, my mother is the one with the most influence, yet I can’t imagine how she would truly function without him. These are my thoughts and fears. But then I stop and remind myself that nothing is certain except this moment. At this moment, my father is still alive. At this moment, he is still with us. Why must I focus on a future that is not here yet? It’s part of human nature to want to get ahead of ourselves to try to protect ourselves from pain. But, we must not get ahead of ourselves. We must take it a minute, hour, and day at a time. I don’t have a crystal ball that can tell me what will happen in the future. I only have the power to focus on the present moment. When the time comes that I must say goodbye to my father, I will welcome that moment with open arms, but I will not get ahead of myself now. Right now, I am grateful that he is being taken care of by some of the best doctors in the state. In this moment, I am grateful that he is still alive. Here are three tips for not getting ahead of yourself and for staying in the present moment.
You are not your fearful thoughts.
When I go into my head and embrace my fearful thoughts, things don’t get better; they get worse. If you are going through something difficult in your life, get a hold of your fearful thoughts. Understand that these thoughts are not real; they are only in your head. My worst-case scenarios are creations of my imagination. This doesn’t mean that these scenarios couldn’t happen, but at this moment they have not happened. So why should I stress about something that is only in my head? Let go of your fears by trusting that you will know how to handle any difficult situations when, and if, they ever happen.
Avoid worrying about the future.
Plan optimistically for your future and don’t worry about it. It is the job of the fearful mind to try to make you worry about worst-case scenarios. Many times, these worst-case scenarios never come to fruition. I believe that we must always stay in the present, but if you must consider the future only look at it with high hopes and stay positive. The future should never intimidate you. It should only inspire you.
Savor the moment.
To savor the moment is to be at peace with it. Peace is to be content with what is and not desire anything else in the present moment. As I savor my moments when I know my father is still in this world, I can’t wish that I could go back to when he was healthy. In life, there is no going back; there is only going forward. And in life, death is a form of moving forward. I am savoring life by being grateful for my health and the health of my husband and children. I am savoring life, one moment at a time.
Life can be beautiful one moment and ugly the next, so treasure the beautiful moments deeply, and don’t rush to the ugly moments in your thoughts. In this moment, I feel love and peace. For now, I will stay in this moment. Remember it’s okay to be optimistic and excited about your future, but always stay present. Until next time, Believe. Change. Become.
Sending many blessings your way,