Living In the Now – Or At Least Striving To

I recently tried out an online platform to use for my new nutrition website. At one point I had to decide which plan to use – the one where I pay each month, or the one where I pay annually upfront for a much lower monthly rate. Even though I had only had one week of experience so far with the free trial period, I was already envisioning paying for one year upfront after a couple months of first paying the more expensive month-to month rate while I tried it out.

Why was it that I could so readily foresee a future with this online platform?

It was because I waned to jumpstart my private practice so badly and I convinced myself that this would do it.

I guess that partially answers my next question, the question which led me to actually sit down and write all this – and that is: Why is it so easy for me to fantasize about the future? To project glorious white-picket-fenced realities? And not just professionally, but personally as well – in my romantic history I was so good at imagining a wonderful future together with someone. In fact, I was living so much in that future, that I tolerated some very difficult experiences in the present.

I have read about the importance of living in the present in Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and other mindfulness teachings. I have heard and practiced mantras on how to live more fully in the present moment. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of G-d, which is why we call it the present.” I know that future-oriented thinking is often associated with anxiety, which I am no stranger to.

Maybe there are rational explanations to how and why I get caught up in the future. But these explanations paled in comparison to the visceral feeling that hit me this evening as I lay daydreaming on my couch: My glorification of the future, and ability to paint a romantic, idyllic picture of what is to come, truly prevents me from feeling the depth and textures of the present moment.

I want to better access my raw, gut feelings of my current experiences. I don’t want to get caught up in the “What Could Bes?” or the “Wouldn’t It Be Perfect Ifs?” I want to give myself time to process all the ins and outs of what presents itself to me at this very moment; instead of getting distracted by a projected illusion- no matter how real it feels.

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Heartwarming Moments Temper Cold, Frigid Mornings

It is cold outside. And windy. Very windy. Even though I am from NY I never get used to this weather. It always feels so ruthless and harsh, especially in the beginning.

This morning, after having walked through a wind tunnel, on the way to my room, I am greeted by a crying toddler sitting on his father’s lap, next to his older brother. Having been suffering with this new weather trend – I could relate to feeling upset.

I engage with the toddler and ask him what is wrong (in a nice uppity toddler-friendly voice). He calms down. I then move into distraction/entertainment mode and comment on how he and his older brother are wearing the same sneakers – red stripes and silver! Then his brother proceeds to step up and down to show me the lights on the heel of his sneaker. The toddler at this point, is smiling and laughing; soon after, he gets up, and, holding onto his father’s hand, he starts walking around the clinic.

It was a heartwarming experience in an otherwise cold and frigid morning. It gave me hope.

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On Sugar and a Not-So-Sweet Victory – Part 2 

Here is some background to my presentation on sugar which I wrote about yesterday:

Five years ago I launched my first yoga class in a synagogue. I was so excited and I was even able to time it perfectly on my dad’s 70th birthday! With great numerical alliteration as well: 11-1-11.
A few weeks later I had to withdraw from teaching due to a back injury (non-yoga related) that I had incurred at the end of October.
Almost 5 years later to the date, I am proud to be part of another synagogue-based wellness campaign!
I am infinitely grateful to have arrived at this point. 
As hard and confusing as it was to have to let go of my dream 5 years ago, there is something so magical about today’s opportunity.
Only G-d knows where we will end up.
5 years ago I began a grueling journey of soul-searching. Today I feel blessed.

………..

Conclusion: Looking at the big picture, I guess this really was a sweet victory after all!

On Sugar and a Not-So-Sweet Victory

This morning, I presented as part of a nutrition panel on the ubiquity of sugar in our foods and how to make healthier choices. We had been working on this project for 3 months. It was a lot of work, involving several in-person meetings and tens of hours of researching and compilation of education materials.

My presentation went well, but my overall participation and contributions until this morning were more laudable. I provided several useful handouts, which were distributed at a table outside of the hall. Unfortunately, during my actual presentation, I lacked access to them, and due to lack of foresight on my part, I did not utilize the handouts and elaborate on their details as effectively as I could have.

After analyzing the presentation with my mother, who, graciously attended, I returned home feeling that my heart had sunk. I wanted this morning to be a crescendo – I had put in so much effort and I wanted to feel accomplished! Yet, after the presentation, constructive criticism took over and it felt anything but celebratory.

It wasn’t the first time I was let down from the realization that giving presentations do not often cause highs, but rather, are opportunities for learning and growth.

I was reminded of previous presentations I had given, when I taped myself and analyzed it after, or better yet, spoke to the organizer for input. I did a good job, yes, but there were several things I could focus on to improve for next time.

And then I realized that it wasn’t my presentation that was flawed, but rather the intentions that I set going into it.

When my goal is to boost my ego, I usually come out disappointed. If I had gone in with the goal of learning and growing, perhaps I would have felt better afterward, knowing that I had achieved my goals.

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Cherished Memories Transcending the Bounds of Time 

Setting up the tables for my father’s 10th memorial event I was reminded of when I helped put the silverware out at the weekly Hillel Friday night dinners as a Freshman in college.
The end of that year, the coordinator told me since I already knew the ropes, I should run for the position to be the following year’s coordinator. At first hesitant to take on this responsibility in addition to my rigorous pre-Med science coursework, I ended up going for it.
The second month of my rank as Hillel Friday night dinner coordinator, we hosted more than 700 people for Brandeis’ family weekend–more than double what we usually did.
Sitting with my parents in the large auditorium, I remember how proud my father was when the Hillel director thanked me for spearheading the set up of the dinner for that eventful night.
As a college sophomore, I was not yet a professional, but this role was a taste of what it would be like, and my dad was rooting for me with the biggest smile and the fullest heart.
This morning, placing the forks and knives onto the table for the 10th anniversary of his passing, I was catapulted back to this time.
Memorials seem to do that. No matter how many years it has been, we can access the deepest, purest, most treasured memories. The level of strength and poignancy exactly the same as when the event first occurred, transcending the bounds of time.