Sunday, March 31, 2013

Liberating my Future-Focus

I'm future-focused. Always have been. It's in my blood, my lineage. In my Michigan working-class family, we worked for the future. We studied for the future. We planned, with discipline and patience. With great pride we endured today for tomorrow, for next week, for next year. Our ancestors did it, and our children will have to. We. Our. We.

I am no longer a part of We, of Our. I chose to seek out a new paradigm. Twenty years on, my horizons have expanded beyond what I ever thought possible, and my beliefs have shifted. I have lived in many worlds and created many realities since my Michigan years. And yet, the layers keep peeling. Deeply ingrained layers of belief conditioning so lovingly shaped around me as a child continue to arise and peel away, years later. Amazing. Beliefs and ideas I thought I let go of are still arising! It feels endless at times, but each release is extremely liberating.

One of these beliefs is this: Most of my life I have been future-focused. It's a common thing in American culture, and widely accepted as the norm. As a culture, we are excited about the future, we worry about it, we work for it, plan for it, anticipate it. It's almost part the American Dream. Many accomplishments require planning, and future-focus surely has its place. Mine has served me well in many ways. It has helped me achieve some goals- yet it can be a bit of a double-edged sword...

Faith over fear.
Being future focused involves worrying, something I've always been great at. Of course I've heard the saying, "Worrying is like praying for what you don't want." Great. More to worry about, now I've said a prayer for what I do not want!

Yet recently something's shifted within, something has awakened. For the past year I have been living in Bali, among an international community. Many of my friends have left behind all semblance of "security," for travel and spiritual pursuits. When I ask them what their plans are, a common answer is "I don't know." These friends are all ages, all classes, families, singles, mixed. I have never in my life met so many people with no future-focus! My local Balinese friends are also present, smiling, enjoying each day though ceremony and strong community.

As human beings, we are creatures of influence (more so than we'd like to admit). In the same way I chose to leave the dominant paradigm of my Michigan upbringing, I now choose to drop my future-focus. I have gained the strength and inspiration to make this shift amongst the support of a community very much focused on the NOW, and I am grateful.

A simple observation: when we worry about the future, we feel the need to try and control things. When we try to control the future (from the present), things usually don't work out as we'd planned. Circumstances change, we change, the weather changes! Change is our only constant. So how can we control the future from the present? We cant! Give it up! We must surrender. Allow. Be.

Opportunities arise spontaneously and we can miss them. Beautiful people come into our lives and we rush by them. Our children change and grow so quickly that we don't experience them.
The power to slow down is in our hands- our world will follow. Our will to stay present creates our reality, and our surrender to what is becomes freedom.

And so my story goes, and another layer peels away. I am no longer obsessed with the future. More than ever before in my life, I am content with not planning, with not knowing what is to come. It's a new feeling, a liberating one. Naturally, I am still an occasional worrier, but the key word here is occasional.

In regards to the future, the possibilities are endless! By awakening to the moment we ignite our intuition, our best inner wisdom to guide decision making. When challenges and opportunities arise, we tune in and trust our own knowing. We flow with- rather than react to- the world around us.

All we have is this moment- and it is a pretty nice one. I am loved, healthy, surrounded by beauty. Sure, the infant next door has been screaming for hours as I write this. Sure, the house is a mess and my to do list never ending, but this moment is grand. And the best part- I am here in it!

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