Being ‘present’ does not mean that you cannot imagine your future. Quite the contrary.
It is only if you are mindful of this moment-of how you feel, of what you are doing and thinking-that you can imagine the future you want to create. Mostly, we are mindless of moments passing. We think there will always be another moment. Those of us who have been faced with the cruel reality of a sudden death of a loved one know this is a myth. But you don’t have to have suffer a tragic loss to realize that time passes quickly. Today is already yesterday’s tomorrow. Did you do, today, what you wanted to do ‘tomorrow’?
When you live in a mindful way, you live in a conscious state of your existence-how do I feel right now? Am I enjoying my work, my relationship, my life? Do I feel fulfilled? If you find a positive response to your self-exploration, you know you are on the right track of life. If you are perfectly happy living in this way-great! Live! Be satisfyingly productive, move through life with intention and feel joy every day in knowing you are living ‘on purpose!’
If, however, you are wondering about a different future….Go There and Look Back.Go to the future that is on your mind. Is it one year? When you graduate? Get married? When your kids are gone from the house? When you turn 50? When you retire? Your old age? On your death bed? Whenever it is, Go There and Look Back.
What does that actually mean?! How do you do that? Make some quiet time. Get comfortable, breathe. Select that point that is on your mind and focus on it. Try to picture it in exactly the way you want it to be. What does it look like? How do you feel in it? What are you doing? Write it all out, be specific and highly detailed; draw the picture if art is your thing. Journal, pray, meditate, walk, hike, run-go wherever you can breathe and think, then write.
Then, work backwards in your mind from then to now. If that is your desired future, what do you need to do now to create that? What are the steps, the information, the resources? What permission do you need-from yourself-to be in that place? What can you do now to move in the direction you clearly want to go? Be specific and write it down. Then, when you get out of focus, you have the map to get back on track.
This is such a simple, but important exercise. Most people just worry or wish for a questionable future. When you Go There and Look Back and are clear on what you want that future to look like and be like, then you do things today consciously and even subconsciously to move you in the direction of your desired future. What if you change your mind? No problem! Life changes. Just go to the new place and look back.