One of my biggest hurdles and life lessons has been learning how to stay in the present moment. It’s something I struggle with every day and have to work with differently each time the thought comes. I’m not where I want to be. I haven’t achieved what I wish I had. I should be somewhere better by now. I should be more.
I think we all cross these moments of anxiety, of our ego’s talk taking over our frame of thought completely. How do we step back into where we are? How do we get out of that never-ending belief that we aren’t enough right now?
In terms of writing, I made a decision not long after I completed the first draft of my novel and was led to the big move across the country. I made the decision that if I wanted to be in the right place, I had to put all my energy into this move. Into finding an apartment, researching neighborhoods, inspecting the details of who I needed to contact, what changes I needed to make. For the past few months, this big transition has been my sole focus while my book’s progress had to be put on pause.
Now that I’ve settled in, I find my inspiration at a high peak which should be exciting. But instead, it’s just led to this trickling thought of where my draft would be if I had worked on it this whole time. If I hadn’t put it on pause completely so that I could use my energy on moving. How far would that girl have come with her writing? Am I a failure as a writer for making that decision? Could I have just used 50% of my energy on the move and 50% on editing?
Though the inspiration should be exhilarating, it just brings me back to this belief that I’ve fallen behind. But then I ask myself, who am I competing with? What am I racing for?
I’ve worked so hard on this book and I know I’ll continue to make it better with each draft, but the other part of me just wants to get it out there to the public. I want to show you guys this project I’ve been working on for so long. I want to introduce you to my characters. I want you to see all the research I’ve done for it. I want you to know the people I interviewed who played a big role in making this happen. Except it’s still in the works and I still feel behind where I’d like to be.
When I fall into this pattern of feeling behind myself, I have some tools I use now that help. One is blogging, the other journaling, meditating, listing my gratitude, yin yoga or just sitting down and listening to music. All of that helps, but they are also all practices of mine. To slowly get myself back into the present, I have to practise these things every day, utilizing whichever feels right at a certain time.
What I’ve found is that when my scattered mind takes over, it’s usually because I haven’t given enough space for my body to have some control, too. And the great part about bodies is that they usually know what they need. The hard part is learning to listen.