I was walking my dog in the woods yesterday when it hit me like a ton of bricks. CONSCIOUSNESS. Wham. It was The Frying Pan of Truth whacking me over the head.
It was a gorgeous day, a perfect fall day, the kind we only get here in New England. Crisp fall air like a cool wine. The scent of fallen leaves and pine trees. Somewhere as a backnote, the smell of concord grapes that grow wild all through the woods.
Now it had snowed and rained the day before so I was wondering whether I should bring a parka, and mittens. An umbrella? A snow shovel? An emergency life raft or sun screen and a bathing suit? You just never know what you are going to get with the New England weather, right?
As it was, it was mild and simply beautiful. I was halfway around the pond before The Frying Pan of Truth dope smacked me into awareness. I had gone a few miles and never really even been aware of my surroundings. I was on autopilot, lost in my thoughts about all the busy things I have to do. Turning things over in my mind just massaging it to death. That mental to-do list had me in its grasp and I was chewing it over and over again.
I was awake. I looked around me, stunned. How did I get out in the woods this far? And how could I have missed one minute of this beauty all around me? The sun was shining through the trees, hitting the carpet of leaves on the ground, all shimmering fall colors. The world is gorgeous, a complete miracle of beauty. The path lay out in front me, each turn and bend beckoning me to a new delight, a new adventure.
I must be so stuck in the illusions in my head, completely lost to The Lie to forget for one moment to pay attention to the present moment. It is a testament to the power of our unconsciousness that we can even for a minute ignore the miracle that is our little blue planet.
It suddenly snapped into my awareness, with a flood of relief. When I am in the moment, I HAVE NO PROBLEMS. Really. I truly don’t. I have no real life issues. Everything is always perfectly fine, in each moment. Each moment is actually a delight and has something joyful, fun, meaningful, significant, creative, productive or at least interesting embedded in it.
The only real problem I actually have is that I can’t stay conscious and in the present. I keep falling back asleep! I keep getting lost in the illusion of my thoughts! I keep forgetting the miracle! That is my only real problem.
Everything else is just a choice that needs to be made.
I am actually in charge of my life. I am no one’s victim. If I don’t like where I am, chances are I got myself there and I can get myself out, by making other choices.
The power of choice is an incredible gift that so often we forget. Our minds cloud over and we don’t remember we can choose. We ALWAYS choose, even when we think we HAVE to do something. There is nothing we have to do. Nothing. So often we are running someone else’s script, some old belief program that got installed when we were young.
When I choose to do something I don’t love to do, (Pay my taxes, clean the bathroom, you know…) I chose from a powerful place, knowing that I am choosing the consequence that I DO like. (Not going to jail, having a clean bathroom, you know…)
Then it feels like an act of power. Wow. The power of choice. Such a groovy part of this dimension! Yeah baby!
WHAM. The Frying Pan had jogged something else loose in my brain.
I know people with real problems. These are situations that happen that we don’t choose. Someone dies. You have an illness that is really kicking your butt. You are struggling with depression, divorce, addiction, an actual crisis. These things are real, and when they do happen, it’s a huge opportunity for us to grow. These soul/life issues are here to teach us something, to bring us into deeper water than we would choose to go on our own. If you look back at your life and see these events, you can probably trace them as the origin of a huge transition point.
Taking the long view here, although these aren’t always pleasant they are part of The Plan.
So maybe in your life, you have dealt with some real emergencies. How often, maybe 5% of your life? I don’t know about you, but when faced with a real crisis, I am pretty good at dealing with it. You just do what you need to do, right? Then spend the rest of the 95% of your time just worrying that another crisis is about to happen. How much energy would be freed up in your system if you only worried about a crisis when it was actually happening in the moment? How much energy do we lose thinking about something that is not actually happening in the moment? A lot.
And what would our lives be like if we could stay in the present, where everything is actually an amazing adventure? Or at least an interesting choice?
I am not sure I have an answer of how to do this. I keep falling back asleep myself! I think it’s like falling off the wagon. Once you realize you are lost in your thoughts again, come back into the moment and have some more fun!