We’re told we need to plan. That in order to be successful (happy, skinny, right, progressive, etc) we should great goals. And that we should then create plans to accomplish these goals.
Don’t get me wrong — I like goals. I believe that we create our own reality and in order to do that we need to mock-up what we want; i.e. we need to set a goal. I create goals. But there is this time that happens between when we set our goal and when we reach it, and that’s when things can get a bit hairy. That’s when the mind can tell us dramas about how we’re not good enough, and then our car breaks down while driving to meet someone who’s an important part of our plan toward our goal, and then we think we see signs about not getting our goal, and before we know it, we’re off course. Being off course can feel disorienting, and to those of us who are Type A, can be impetus for throwing out the goal and starting over. But it doesn’t need to.
Goals are great. We need dreams and goals. But we also need to be flexible in our plans and in how we believe we can reach our goals. Setting out a plan can feel good and productive, but it can also act as a stop-gate for when things don’t go according to plan. What happens then? What happens when so much life gets in the way of your plan that you can hardly see the goal anymore? What happens when the path to that shiny goal is obscured by rain, wind, arguments, pitfalls, failures, hormones, hangovers and sprained muscles? What happens when we remember what our goal is but can’t see the path to getting there?
That’s when we need to slow down, to take a deep breath, to step out of the macrocosm and into the microcosm. Because the truth is that we don’t have to be able to answer all of the “whys” and “hows” of our big, shiny goal. We only have to have the goal, the dream, to know that our dream is valid and that we will get there. Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream!” He didn’t say, “I have a plan!” He had a dream, he shared the dream and he figured out how to get there along the way.
When life gets rough and you lose sight of your path, step into the microcosm. Instead of that big step you were “supposed” to take toward your goal, focus on your breath. All you need to do in the moments when things are rough is breathe. “In this moment, I am okay.” Say it to yourself. “In this moment, I am okay.” Keep bringing your attention to the moment, not to all the things that distract you from the moment, but to the moment. Allow your nervous system to calm in the moment, because this moment is all that there is. This moment is the creation, motivation and completion of the goal, all wrapped up in one breath. So have that. Give yourself this moment, right now and know, that in this moment, you are okay and you are accomplishing everything that you need to with each inhale, and releasing everything you need to with each exhale.
When we do this, we allow the mental chatter to stop. We release the drama or energy obscuring our path because we stop feeding into the drama it’s created. We cut the chord to our drama and choose to focus on what’s in front of us now. And now. Your power is in your attention. Use your power, your attention and focus, wisely. Use it to be in the present moment so the dream you have, the one that you see out in the future, starts to take shape now. Now – the only time there is.
P.S. If you need some help getting back to the now, try one of my video meditations.