I love it when I am surprised to find an article in my inbox written by someone somewhere whom I don’t know or know anything about and it speaks directly to something that is on my mind. It feels a little mystical or magical, sort of like I’m connected to something bigger and unseen…or have a secret kindred spirit somewhere. Or at least, it feels like my thinking is affirmed and maybe not as weird as I fear.
This is exactly what happened recently when I accidentally found the NY Times article, “We Aren’t Built to Live in the Moment” by Martin Seligman and John Tierney. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/19/opinion/sunday/why-the-future-is-always-on-your-mind.html?emc=eta1&_r=0
I couldn’t read it fast enough! I often find myself mulling this “in the moment” stuff over in my mind while I struggle to live it out. It just doesn’t seem to come naturally to this old dreamer!
But listen to this: We humans “thrive by considering our prospects”.
The writers go on to say that it is “increasingly clear that the mind is mainly drawn to the future…” “…our brain sees the world not by processing every pixel in a scene but by focusing on the unexpected.”
And perhaps one of the best parts is that when making plans there were higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress seen in the control groups used in the research on which this article is based.
Looking forward to something tomorrow can provide hope, the kind of hope that makes us want to get out of bed.
Making plans for tomorrow, even on a very small scale, can lift the monotony of the everyday routine and give the routine increased energy.
Its often easy in this slower paced stage of life, to allow the daily routine to isolate…the more I stay at home with myself and my routine, the more I want to stay at home with myself and my routine… the less I want an interruption, and the fewer interruptions I have, the more I resist them or dislike them when they happen…and so the cycle of isolation begins, softly and slowly.
So! Here’s the question:
How can I keep the rhythm of life, look at each moment with appreciation and awe, and still “consider my prospects” for tomorrow? And how can I create “prospects” if I feel like I don’t have any?
Here’s my Plan:
- Keep my daily routine and go at my own pace, continue being mindful of the joy of the moment and the lack of have-to’s and should’s.
- Give myself one unexpected change-up each day…something small like planning a different route for my walk, watching a tv program I don’t usually watch, or calling a forgotten friend or anything to break the routine, slightly!
- Make plans to do something out-of-the-ordinary once a week…either accept an invitation from a friend or plan a get together with someone I cherish or go to a community event…BUT I have to plan ahead and put it on my calendar…each week.
- Plan a change-of-scenery event, an outing, or get away, within my financial budget and my energy budget, every 3 months or 6 months if its a biggie.
If every day feels like every other day and I live out the cliche, “Been there, Done that!”, my Spirit yawns. If I see today that tomorrow offers the opportunity of newness, big or small, then I have hope and my Spirit thrives.
What prospects will you consider today to fill your tomorrow with hope? What’s your plan?
” Where there is no vision, there is no hope.” – George Washington Carver