Today I want to remind you that the best time to live our lives fully is in the present moment.
This is a reminder to all of us, but is especially important to those who are grieving, who find themselves dwelling on the past a great deal.
I am re-posting (with some expansion) what I said on the Widow to Widow Circle of Hope Group that I run on Facebook. If you are interested in this group, or know someone who is, contact me to learn more. It’s free!
Naturally, I won’t post anything the other members are saying. The group is a confidential space, but several women in the group have suggested that I post on my blog some of the things I write for the group, so more of you can see them.
The present moment is the only moment guaranteed to us here on this earth. The past is gone, except in our hearts and memories. It will always remain there to be cherished, if it was a positive past. If the past was more painful than happy, we have to take steps to face it, put it in its proper place, and refuse to allow it to destroy our present.
We can still “take out” the past, and unwrap it when we need to. People who are grieving usually have a need to replay the past many times before being ready to move forward. As we move on, we will probably need to less often. We are reassured by knowing we have not lost the memories, whether sweet or painful. They are ours forever.
We cannot really touch the past, though. It is no longer concrete. It is no longer in front of us, and can’t be shaped or experienced in the same way as the present moment. This moment-the now-is our gift, to feel, to inhale, to taste, to savor, and to enjoy. No matter what you have been through, the sun still comes up, the birds are still chirping outside of your window, there are new buds on the plants. Nature renews itself, and so will you. Focusing on enjoying each of the small day-to-day moments helps us get through rough times.
Speaking of nature, do you make time to get outside and take some of it in? I admit that I am a city girl by habit and inclination. I don’t wake up each morning chomping at the bit to go out for a hike, or even for a leisurely stroll around the yard, or the neighborhood. I have to make myself do this sometimes, and my mind and body always thank me for it. Most of us are stressed nowadays, by one thing or another. There is much research to support that getting out in the fresh air, in nature, helps dramatically in reducing our stress levels. For me, in spite of my resistance at times, getting out there really helps me be in the present moment.
When working with those who are dealing with loss and grief, I encourage them to avoid too much isolation, and to do their best to get outside, even when they don’t really want to. It’s good for all of us, but especially for those who are dealing with grief and loss of different types.
Sometimes it takes a lot of energy and pushing ourselves to do that, but it’s so important. Getting out in nature, rather than in an urban setting, has been shown not only to reduce stress, but to decrease anxiety, and to improve our mood and energy level. So if you live in a city, find a park and take a walk, even if it’s a short one. There have been plenty of studies that support these benefits. If you want to read a little more, go here:
What helps you to live more in the present moment?
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