Kelly Spencer - Happy Healthy YOU
(A wellness column by Kelly Spencer: writer, life coach, yoga & meditation teacher, holistic healer and a mindful life enthusiast!)
Recently while attending the Tillsonburg District Chamber of Commerce Awards of Excellence, I was a delighted to hear the inspirational words of guest speaker, Rocco Rossi, CEO of Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
"The word 'if' is in the word 'life'." – R. Rossi
The word 'if' can be very powerful and useful for guiding us in the present moment in the direction of where we need to go. It can also paralyze us towards our future if we get caught up in the “what ifs.” Or the power also can be channeled through regret towards our past by looking back with upset or anguish of past action or perhaps more pointedly lack of actions... “if only.”
So, let's look at the use of the word 'if' in our life a little closer from these three angles - past, present and future.
“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry - all forms of fear - are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.” - Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now.
When we are feeling unease and fear about future, whether it is a goal we are trying to achieve, a new endeavor, or worry of how we will appear or if we will be successful, we can get caught up in the “what if” cycle.
“What if it's not good enough?” or “What if it’s the wrong decision?”
These two small words can have huge sabotaging impact on our heart-centred alignment, our dreams or goals, and our best intentions. The game of 'what ifs' threatens growth and can paralyze us in the various forms of fear.
Of course, self-inquiry is crucial and beneficial before we make decisions and take action in our lives as we can gain deep understanding of our motives, intentions and beliefs when we look into and examine on a deeper level, the 'what ifs?'
If we allow ourselves to stay in the tension, worrisome stress of too much future without bringing ourselves in to mindful present moment awareness, the 'what ifs' can leave us floating in the boat of self-sabotage, gripping onto the anchor rope of regret, while opportunity floats on by.
When we query and question our 'what ifs' we begin to have more awareness and understanding of where the unease is coming from. Through mindfulness we take ourselves less out of future and more into the present moment. We begin to discover where the worry stems from and why. Development on a deeper consideration of our intentions, their origins, the facts and the importance that they carry for us can be made.
You can even switch up your 'what if?' to 'what if you don’t?' To thoroughly examine the full scenario of synopsis, then ask yourself what the consequences are if the opposite was true. Develop a pro and con list if needed. But avoid just stopping with the 'what if.'
“Don’t leave the 'if' of 'life' until it is 'if only' and becomes regret. Leave no 'if' questions until the end of life.” - Rocco Rossi
By repeatedly analyzing our past situations, experiences and scenarios with 'if only' we torment ourselves by dwelling on an alternative possibility that is no longer an option unless we can figure out some sort of time travel. Guilt, resentment, and other forms of unforgiving energies can take a tight grasping hold to our current life, the only real moment we have some control over.
By beating ourselves up with 'if only' I did this-or-that questions, we keep ourselves trapped in allowing a situation or experience from our past, affect our present life. Grant ourselves instead the permission to examine any past 'if only' questions with the mindfulness of the now and what it is we can control. Can we do anything about the past situation at all? If we cannot then perhaps we need to give ourselves permission to release it and let it go. If we can take an action that would be in the best interest of ourselves or other, can we absolve the guilt of the past and step into this current moment to act?
Again, get nosey and more intimate with yourself. Are you able to truthfully examine any past emotions that are holding you in captivity from releasing the past and living life fully right now?
The 'if' of life when used regularly as a part of a mindful life can create a fuller consciousness of what urges you to act in a certain way. The ego can sometimes play tricks on us, tricking us to defend old resentments or legitimize future fears. If you are unsure talk it over with someone you trust to keep it real or seek counselling from an unbiased and objective professional.
Using the query of 'if' mindfully to investigate how you are thinking, feeling and believing in each current situation of any dilemma, situation or goal, can open us to the opportunity to let go of the 'what ifs' and say goodbye to the 'if only. We can let go of torturing ourselves with the alternative realities of dealing with the past and the future.
The more mindfully we practice living with focus as every moment arrives with a trust that each situation is a part of the path that is expanding the energy of our own personal growth, teaching us the lessons that we need and allowing ourselves to live the most authentic, truthful and powerful beings we can be, we give ourselves the power of the 'if in life.
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