If you have a heartbeat over the past three months, you’ve observed the headlines and the cries of journalists, politicians and economists: recession, inflation, stagflation, housing slump, sub-prime mortgage crisis, stock market volatility, record high oil prices! You name it, there’s a lot of fear out there. Whether that fear is justified or not really depends on your personal situation. But either way, it’s a good time for some self-reflection to determine what’s reality for you.
Yet when everyone’s running around ducking for cover from the falling sky, it’s tempting to become frantic and act on impulse or become paralyzed and fail to act. Both situations are the result of losing your awareness of your presence in the moment. Of this moment. Because this is the only moment that matters.
Professionals who are exposed to life or death types of emergencies are trained to make good decisions, in the moment. If an airline captain on a routine flight from Phoenix to Seattle was suddenly faced with an engine failure, their first reaction isn’t likely to be, “Oh no! We’re all gonna die!” They are trained to recognize the problem, identify what is working (i.e. the plane is still flying, they have another good engine, etc), then find a solution to the problem. All of that decision making happens in the moment, not the past nor the future.
So, if you’re feeling the pressure of this economic fear I was describing, take a deep breath right now, in this moment as you are reading this. Become aware of where you are and what you are doing. Let’s recognize the problem: the economy is very unsettled and that may impact you personally. Second, let’s recognize what is working in the moment: you’re sitting at your computer (otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this), you have electricity, you have a roof over your head, and probably other blessings too numerous to mention here. Now, from this vantage point, how do you feel about the problem? Do you feel better able to identify solutions to the problem? Does the problem even exist for you anymore?
If you really managed to bring your full awareness into the moment, you probably had a different perspective on the problem than when you first started reading this. That’s because fear is an emotion that does not live in the moment. It’s an emotion of the past in the forms like regret or remorse. Fear is also an emotion of the future like doubt or worry. But notice how these emotions are not actions. Fear can move you to action which can be a good thing. But being fearful creates a state of ineffective inaction: paralysis or panic both of which I view as the same thing at two different vibrational frequencies.
In the moment is where action resides (along with being). In the moment you can act on a choice. But if you are fearful, you are dwelling on a past outcome or bracing for a future expectation – “Oh no. We’re all gonna die!” There’s no choice there. You’ve already decided.
Your goal during these times of uncertainty and Chicken Little’s running around in panic is to expand your awareness of the moment so you can recognize the choices around you in order to enact the best solution for your highest good. For starters, begin by focusing on your breath to help you back into the moment. You have resources available to you as well like yoga and meditation classes, massage and bodywork are all excellent opportunities to shut out the din of the world and move inside, into the moment.
What are the ways you use to get yourself into the moment? Let me know. I’m always open to more ideas.