How would you like to take a relaxing vacation? Sounds easy so far doesn’t it? Vacations can be aimless spaces in time we gift ourselves, where we remove our watches, breathe in deeply and let it all go. For most of us it is only in these moments that we remain uninterrupted by the “to do list,” the “shoulds” and the dreary details of everyday life.
Vacations give us permission to ignore the everyday chatter filling our heads, allowing us instead to wander into the world of dream and fantasy. Remember the last time you just let go of time, and sat out in nature, nothing to do and nowhere to go, relaxing into nothingness… oooohhhhh… I can just feel it now, the release, the rest, the ease of the body. I am reminded of my vacations on Maui where my partner and I silently slipped into island time, sincerely practicing the fine art of doing nothing.
Savoring the present moment is easy when we’re on vacation. The challenge offered here is to learn to apply this form of “time-shifting” to our everyday lives. It is probably one of the greatest challenges we face, requiring constant vigilance and commitment to Self, yet once mastered you will find it is ultimately the most life changing practice you can enjoy.
Where is your attention most of the time? Are you fully experiencing the present moment, the now of your life? Or are you reliving the past, allowing your attention to wander backwards in time, reviewing old scenarios, energizing old wounds, all the while wallowing in regret and guilt? Or perhaps you spend your time worrying about the future, projecting the worst possible scenarios, generating fear and anxiety at every level of your being.
When we allow our minds to focus on the past or the future, we relinquish our experience of life in the present. Learning to master the art of time-shifting transfers us fully into the present moment, where we belong, for truly the past and future do not exist except in our minds. When we exist in the present moment, all regrets disappear; anxiety and worry fade into nothingness. Making the conscious choice to honor the present moment of our lives, whatever that moment brings, is the art of time-shifting.
As we move ourselves out of the reality of our mind, we inevitably begin to experience life with our senses. As quantum physicist Fred Alan Wolf attests: “From a quantum physical point of view, there are two complementary ways of seeing. The first way involves our intellect, our thinking and sensation functions. The second involves our heart, our feelings and our intuitions.” Each time we arrive in the present moment, we open to the realm of the heart, shifting our sense of the world both around and within us. Through this practice we easily bridge our inner intuitive nature and hear the wisdom of our bodies.
What would happen if instead of dwelling on what we don’t have, we began to be grateful for what we do have in the here and now? By cultivating a sense of perfect presence, we can attain a non-judgmental stance from which to view life.
As we relax into full acceptance of what is, we are provided a much-needed respite from the stressors of the external world. Gratitude emerges as we open our perceptual heart, immersing ourselves in the beauty of our surroundings and honoring our true feelings. We can also watch the antics of our habitual minds from a distanced, more objective perspective. With this practice, we can come to know ourselves through a deeper level of consciousness.
The key to time-shifting is to realize that this state of being is ever available to us should we choose it. We must, however, make a conscious shift in our awareness. Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle in his book Practicing the Power of Now, invites us to make it our practice to withdraw attention from our past and future whenever we can. He asks us to step out of the time dimension as much as possible in everyday life and honor our connection to all energies present in the moment. Where do you live? Will you choose to savor your life?
Dancing Lesson for Your Soul
Be Here Now
Take mini vacations from your life each day. You can set a timer to go off a few times a day to remind you to stop and be present to the moment.
Ask yourself, “Where is my attention? Is it in the past, future or in the here and now?”
Gently bring your awareness, with all your senses, into the present moment. Feel your body. Notice what you are seeing around you. What are you smelling? What taste would you enjoy right now? What is now?
Notice how easy it is for you to enjoy the world in this new and energizing way.
Journal your perceptions.
In peace, Janet