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We can only be in one timeframe physically, but we have a choice mentally. We can be preoccupied with the past, present or future. Some of us get stuck in the past. We have regrets. We have hurts, wounds and traumas. We nurse our moods and attitudes with them. We can keep rehearsing alternate choices and what could've or should've happened. We can get stuck in “why mode.” Why did I do it? Why did they do it? Why did it happen? Why won't they apologize and make it right? Why can't I ever get a break? Why I am so messed up? Unhappiness and motionlessness abound here. Lots of inner drama and depression are clues you're in the past too much. If you can't change it, start working on letting it go or making your amends. Those are worthwhile shorter term goals.
Being preoccupied with the future makes a lot of sense to many of us, too. We know stuff is going to happen, and we've probably got a good shot at doing something with it or about it. You're going to keep strategizing and perfecting your plans. Hey, you can make stuff happen when you've got the right plan. Or, maybe you can't and you're anxious and majorly worried about all the really bad awful catastrophic stuff that's absolutely certain to completely screw up everyone and everything you care about and your whole life to top it all off, too.
Whether you tend to go with control, panic or some alternating combination of the two, the fact is you just don't have that much control, you're pretty bad a predicting the future and the really bad stuff seldom comes to pass, so you're wasting an awful lot of time which is the same as wasting an awful lot of your life. How many of your imaginary conversations have even come close to happening? How many of your highly strategized plans have you tried? How many even went close to your plan or what you were thinking? Some thinking about the future and planning can really help. When it starts to take on a life of it's own, it's starting to steal yours away.
Can you actually be preoccupied in the present? Yes, most of us do it every day. Maybe it's more like your almost in the present. You're just a few moments ahead or behind. Your going back over something that just happened or is about to happen when you go through the door. Often, it's you not really listening while your planning what to say next.
It's also difficult to actually be here right now with all the yak yak yak going on in your head all the time. It takes time and practice to let the noise in your head not be a distraction, and to be able to hear it but just let it go on by. Meditation helps. Not taking yourself so seriously helps. Knowing yourself better helps. All of these can help boost your inner peace, tranquility and time in the moment.
Your happiness is waiting.