Peace of Mind


I’ve been thinking a lot about the future lately. Actually, I’ve been thinking that I shouldn’t be thinking about it at all if I can help it. I can’t remember exactly when I became so obsessed with it, though I suppose it started around the time that I knew I had to grow up. So much of the business of being a grownup seemed to be about ensuring a Bright Future – the school, the career, the savings. I certainly wanted my future to be bright, not dark. I could easily imagine both.

The thing about the future is it’s always coming, it’s never here, which is handy for a dreamer like me. I’d find myself thinking, “There’s got to be something better than this.” “This” was wherever I was, which was never so bad, frankly, but not as good as I believed it could be. So my mind would drift into the future, and my storyteller’s imagination would picture this place, this time, this me, and I was always free there. Free from doubt, free from despair, and free from worrying about the future, for it had at last arrived, and it was wonderful.

The future’s a shifty place, however. It’s light can be snuffed out in a single thought. Just like that a new future loomed on the horizon, casting its shadow across everything, a shadow so long it reached me where I sat idly dreaming and darkened my very day. It isn’t long before someone I loved would ask, “What’s wrong?” Where to begin? Everything was wrong, for everything was dark, and I could see nothing I wanted.

Fortunately, a person’s simply got to do something besides sit around wondering about the future. There’s only one place and time you can ever do anything and that’s here and now. One of the things I liked to do was write. If I fell into whatever I was writing, if I forgot about the future and the past and found myself chasing whatever idea came calling, the experience was always the same: I’d finish my work for the day, sit back, and think, “That’s as good as life gets.”

I was right. Usually, I’d bounce around for an hour or so believing I’d solved the future. I would never worry about it again. How silly of Old Bill to let his days be ruined by some nightmare he dreamed. New Bill knows better. Then, in his hubris, New Bill would think, “I’m going to go tell the future what I think of it! Give it a piece of my mind.” Never give the future any of your mind. Your mind belongs entirely to the present, to where you are, and where all the stories are being told.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual coaching and group workshops.