It’s hard to believe that Christmas has already come and gone and we are near the beginning of a New Year. We are in between two major Holidays and it made me think of a great song by Elevation Worship called “Here Again”. The song begins with the lyrics,
“Can’t go back to the beginning
Can’t control what tomorrow will bring
But I know here in the middle
Is the place where you promise to be”*
There was no way anyone would have known what 2020 had in store and there also is no way anyone can know with certainty what 2021 holds. What we can, however, be sure of is what is happening now. It is important to be well equipped for the full range of emotions that can arise at any given moment.
Mindfulness is a helpful tool to aid in shifting our thoughts more to the present moment, rather than frozen in the past or spinning out in the future.
“To live mindfully is to live in the moment and reawaken oneself to the present, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future. To be mindful is to observe and label thoughts, feelings, sensations in the body in an objective manner. Mindfulness can therefore be a tool to avoid self-criticism and judgment while identifying and managing difficult emotions.”**
It’s ok to have distressing feelings, yet often we will judge ourselves, hide from or deny present emotions because they are unfamiliar, uncomfortable, inconvenient or overwhelming. We also may not understand what wound is causing the pain or what it needs to heal.
Physical pain can help illustrate the parallels of emotional pain. The first time any of us have slammed our shin into a coffee table it hurts really, really bad. Since we hadn’t felt that before our mind can run wild and amplify the pain.
Our thoughts can jump into the future, “This hurts so bad I’m never going to be able to walk right again” or into the past, “This kinda stuff always happens to me.” With new and unfamiliar pain our thoughts are more likely to be more extreme and therefore the pain will be more intense.
However, if we are able to take a breath and better assess the situation, understand the pain, understand the injury it is alerting us to, then we can better orient ourselves and get our needs met. This helps us to make more clear decisions and address the wound to reduce and eliminate the pain caused by it. After the pain subsides, rather than never being around coffee tables again we usually make sure to scan the room to see where any coffee tables are and walk more carefully around them. When we can become more familiar with our pain and the causes creating it, we can become more empowered and create responses rather than mere reactions, creating a new familiar.
Mindfulness as a practice can aid with getting our mind and thoughts into the present moment.
To accept what I am feeling now rather than push it away or run from it. When we understand not just the pain, but the wound itself, we more decisively get what we are needing. The next time I slam my shin into a coffee table, I may cringe, then take a deep breath and remind myself, “This really hurts right now but it does subside and I will be ok”.
If you are struggling with the present or find yourself stuck in the past or sucked out into the future we are here to help and equip.
Mindfulness is only one tool that can provide aid, albeit a powerful one.
Learning about our emotional wounds and what we need when they are hurting helps us to be empowered no matter where we have been or where we may be going. Our worth demands that we are liberated from the grips of emotional wounding so we may enjoy the present as the gift that it is, come what may.