For something totally unexpected amongst all the current gloom and doom regarding the Coronavirus threat, I was delighted and surprised to find out a few days ago that my latest book Between the Immensities has won the Best Spiritual Fiction Book Award in the UK! The judge described it as being ‘’heart warming, funny and engaging’’ and said that after reading the book, it inspired him to reconsider his relationship with his parents.
I recently came across a quote by the ancient Chinese philosopher and writer Lao Tzu. In my role as a psychologist working with mainly depressed and anxious people, I believe this quote holds a fair bit of truth.
If you are depressed, you are living in the past
If you are anxious, you are living in the future
If you are at peace, you are living in the present
If we look at the types of thinking related to living in the past, regrets and ‘if only’ thoughts tend to be a focus. Depression is often associated with a sense of loss.
People who feel anxious tend to focus on ‘what if’ type thoughts about the future, imagining negative scenarios which for most of the time never eventuate. Anxiety is usually associated with a sense of threat.
And for people who focus more on living in the present, yes, there certainly seems to be a sense of peacefulness about them. Engaging in meditation and mindfulness exercises can help us to focus more on living in the present which means experiencing the Now moment as it is, second by second.
One of the things that can be helpful when people feel ‘flat’ or ‘down’ is to engage in a combination of mindfulness and gratitude. Using the Big Picture mindfulness approach means being aware that each moment in the ‘now’ represents our life, and we can choose to feel grateful for the opportunity to be here having a go at being alive. To realise that each day is precious because we only have a certain number of them to experience this gift we call life.
If the Big Picture approach to mindfulness seems too hard, we can simply be mindful of where we are and what we are doing in the current moment. To experience our environment via our senses, to really be aware of what we can see around us, to really notice colours and shapes, and to be grateful for what we have, for the fact that we have eyes that can see. To be grateful for what we can hear in the moment of our life. For our taste, smell, feel and touch. If we focus on all the information we are taking in via our senses, it can be as though we’d never really noticed these things before. It invites us to feel a sense of wonder at what might normally be overlooked and considered mundane. Yet like our days, all experiences are transitory. To be grateful for the richness of what we actually have as part of our everyday life can be mood enhancing.
Sophie is now 9 months old and look at her! You wouldn’t think she was the same puppy that we adopted in January. Her fur is now much lighter and more fluffy. She is proving to be a very affectionate little dog with a big personality. I feel blessed sharing my life with her, she certainly generates a lot of joyful emotions.
THE MAGIC BANK ACCOUNT
Imagine that you had won the following *PRIZE* in a contest
Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400 in your private account for your use.
However, the prize has certain rules attached, which are:
1. Everything that you didn’t spend during each day would be taken away from you.
2. You may not simply transfer money into some other account.
3. You may only spend it.
4. Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another $86,400 for that day.
5. The bank can end the game without warning; and say, “Game Over!”. The account is then closed forever without replacement.
What would you personally do? You would buy anything and everything you wanted right? Not only for yourself, but for all the people you love and care for. Even for people you don’t know, because you couldn’t possibly spend it all on yourself, right? You would try to spend every penny, and use it all, because you knew it would be replenished in the morning, right?
Actually, this game is REAL
And each of us is already a winner of this *PRIZE*. It’s just that we don’t always see it.
The prize is *TIME*
1. Each morning we wake to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life.
2. And when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is Not credited to us.
3. What we haven’t used up that day is forever lost.
4. Yesterday is gone forever.
5. Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time WITHOUT WARNING…
SO, what will YOU do with your 86,400 seconds? These seconds are worth so much more than the equivalent sum in dollars. Think about it and remember to enjoy every second of your life, because time races by much quicker than we appreciate.
So take care of yourself, be happy, love deeply and enjoy life! Here’s wishing you a wonderful and beautiful day.
… and remember: NEVER COMPLAIN ABOUT GROWING OLD – MANY PEOPLE DON’T GET TO ENJOY THAT PRIVILEGE!
AUTHOR UNKNOWN. It was found in the billfold of Paul William “Bear” Bryant after he died in 1982. Bryant was an American college football player and coach, best known as the long-time head coach of the University ofAlabama football team.
Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.
Mary Jean Irion
Psych Central Book Review of Emotional Life by Doreen Davy
…the book is engaging, with the right blend of common sense and emotional insight. Because the writing is conversational and honest, the book feels a bit like sitting with an engaging therapist — one who is willing to reveal small pieces of her own life to enrich the conversation. ~ Psyche Central, http://psychcentral.com/lib/book-review-emotional-life/00019838