This is a lesson that keeps cropping up for me over and over again. Looking back at my original recovery I can see that at the time, I achieved a particular mastery of being present in the here and now and being happy in the moment. That present moment happiness brings a very peaceful state to the body that allow its resources to be directed to healing.
Not being happy with where you are now carries a great risk of going beyond your energy envelope. Our drive towards happiness and away from pain doesn’t tend to check in with our energy levels first, it just pushes. It’s the main reason for the boom bust cycle, we start to feel a bit better and we can’t help but push for more!
Striving for something better is such a natural human response especially when life as we know it is snatched away by chronic illness but unfortunately, it’s not a helpful one. I don’t believe that we have to give up on wanting something better or even working towards something better, but I have learned that it’s just not safe to do so unless you can be at peace in the here and now.
The first time I learned this lesson, was realising how much energy I saved once I’d grieved the loss of my old life and come to an acceptance of the way things were. With that acceptance, I realised that life had to be lived differently for a while and I focused on finding new ways to be happy with life as it was. I found that my health improved the more I could embody a relaxed effortless approach to life, and that approach was only possible when I was content.
When I got ill the second time, I remembered those lessons, grieved, accepted and focused on making the most of life as it is. My symptoms have stayed relatively mild this time, but I haven’t quite reached the same level of consistent healing peace that I did the first time.
I know that at times it has been the very belief that I can get better that has driven me. I’ve had to learn not to care so much about whether I am doing everything I can to get better or not. It can be a very fine line between motivation and pressure! Wanting to get results always crosses that line, so I’ve learned not to get attached to the desired outcomes of my actions.
More recently I’ve found myself striving to make my business work. And once again I’ve discovered that the most effective way to avoid this striving is to focus on being happy now. When I fill up my cup first, I can be much more relaxed about my business, and it’s much better for my health!
When I focus on being present in the here and now and enjoying the little moments, on gratitude and appreciation, on sharing loving kindness, on nurturing my plants and veg plot, on spending time appreciating nature, on nurturing friendships and finding ways to be playful, I find a healing peace. When enough of my day is filled with these things there is no longer the compulsion to strive. I can still work towards a better future, but I don’t have to push myself to get there!
Does your desire for a better future cross the line into a pressure? What are your best tools for being happy in the here and now? Do you pay them enough attention?