Do not dwell in the past. Do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment. –Buddha


imagesI tell my clients that it’s very important to live in the moment. You have nothing more than this very moment in time. Until someone invents a T.A.R.D.I.S. (time machine from Dr. Who), this is it. You can’t go back and you can’t go forward. You can only change things in this moment.

So the next thing I hear is this panicked voice saying,” What about the future, how am I supposed to plan for my future? I can’t just let it happen. I have to have control. I have to plan.”

And that’s true you do have to plan and set goals or you’d just drift along without any sort of purpose. But think about it. Planning and setting goals doesn’t happen in some other time it happens in the moment that you’re actually taking action to do it.

There’s a difference between mental time and physical time. Mental time is the time you spend dwelling on the past and pining for the future. Physical time is the time you spend setting goals, taking creative action, and doing the things you need to do this very moment to realize your dreams.

Begin by taking baby-steps now to get where you want to be. If you feel you need to resolve a past issue before you can move forward then do it now. Set whatever plan in place you need to in order to resolve your issue. I used to be an all or nothing kind of person. Either I did it all the first time around or I let it go and never bothered to finish it.

Then I found out that if I took small stumbly little steps forward, eventually I’d get to where I wanted to be. And, that was one of those “aha” moments. It was a relief to discover that by taking creative action in the moment things would pretty much just fall into place.

It’s only when you remain stuck in “mental time” that life seems hard. Now that doesn’t mean you won’t experience hard or bad situations again. You may. And that also doesn’t mean that dealing with those things you’ve held on to won’t be difficult. It might. But if you act in the moment to deal with those things then you can move forward knowing that you have control of the situation. The situation doesn’t have control of you.

No matter where you are right now, you have to take action to move forward. So it’s your choice just what kind of action you take. You can take re-action, which means you react to everything as it happens without having a plan in place. Or you can take pro-action, which means that you are being proactive, dealing with any issues that arise the moment they do. And, putting plans in place to keep those issues from happening again.

You and only you get to make the choice whether you’re reactive or proactive.. You can do something, one small thing each day that will move you forward toward your dreams. Or you can just sit, wait, and grow old regretting what could have been. Don’t dream about tomorrow. Don’t dwell in the past. Make this moment the moment you take creative action to make your dreams come true.

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2 Responses to Mental Time Machine

  1. Steve,
    Thanks for commenting. I couldn’t agree more. If you can stop living in the past or worrying about the future, then you gain an entirely different perspective on just what is possible.

  2. Steve Vernon says:

    One of my favorite books, which I happen to be working through once again at this very moment, is Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now”. In the section I was reading just a couple of days ago, I highlighted the following: “The more you are focused on time — past and future — the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is. . . . The eternal present is the space within which your whole life unfolds . . . There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be.”

    I am more and more learning the value of living in the Now, and I’m finding my life is so much less stressful and full of worry about things that really don’t matter right now. It’s amazing how it so drastically changes your priorities.

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