Join us in a conversation with James Lake MD. Dr. Lake has served as a clinical assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral medicine at Stanford, and is currently a visiting assistant professor...
Clean Up Your Mess!
I recently spoke with someone who has been trying to deal with problems of the past. Unfortunately, the way this person is trying to deal with it is by ignoring it. He seems to live by the mantra of “live in the now”, each time shoving the problems back down. Except that the problems seem to be fighting back in the way of panic attacks and adrenal fatigue.
Being a good friend and a yoga teacher with a little bit of human insight, I have tried to help him by getting him to look at his situation in an objective manner so he will be better able to deal with it and put it behind him. But each time I try, he always says to me “Okay Miss Yogi, what happened to living in THIS moment?”
I have to agree that living in the moment is important, but let’s look at this a little deeper. What if we lived in the moment with everything? What if we got up from eating and said I’m not doing the dishes because I am living in this moment and that mess was from earlier moments? I can tell you what would happen — messes would never be cleaned up! Or “I wore that outfit yesterday so today I am not washing these clothes because that is in the past and I am living in this moment”. Or “I’m not cleaning out that messy closet because I am living in this moment”… See, I could go on and on, but I think you get the gist. If we never looked back, we might not ever clean our house or mow our grass or do laundry or dishes; we would live in a pretty messy environment. Oh sure, these seem to be pretty mundane household chores, but what about our emotional house?
Sometimes we have to clean out the closet, reorganize, toss what is no longer needed and put what is needed in its place.
Cleaning up the messes of the past can be tricky, though. But just as we have to do laundry, dishes, make the beds, etc. every day, we may also have to clean up our emotional messes of the past every day. I do not know a single person who has dealt with the past and had it happen in one try; it can take days, weeks or even years, depending on how deeply the cleaning has to be. Personally, I work on balancing my emotional health every day just as I do my physical. It is a journey not a destination.
Baron Baptiste said in one of his videos that we are either in the present moment or we are nowhere. I do agree that if we just live in the past it is not healthy and makes living in the now not very fun. Finding balance between “dealing” with the past and “living” in the moment is certainly a challenge. However, sometimes taking a step back and cleaning up messes is just what is needed to live joyfully in the now.
I have a very hard time concentrating when I am in a cluttered environment, whether it is a physical or emotional. I have to clean my office of yesterday’s mess before I can completely focus on today. The same goes for my mind when it is cluttered — it drains my energy, making every task a challenge.
So how do we move into the present moment fully without cleaning up the messes of the past? I don’t think we can. As long as we harbor resentments, hurt, and anger, we cannot live joyfully in the present moment. When we can find forgiveness, we can find healing. When we find compassion and understanding, we find forgiveness.
So cleaning up our past messes can be the perfect way to live in the now!
[tags] Kat Robinson, past, present resentment, hurt, anger, forgiveness, healing, compassion [/tags]