Facing cancer is difficult, unnerving, and scary. While our bodies battle this ugly disease, another war is going in our minds. What we allow to go on in our hearts can be as crucial as any other treatment regimen.
Learning to “live in the now” can be powerful medicine.
We spend much of our lives in either the past or the future. We look back and long for certain things, and wish we could forget or erase others. We gaze ahead, somehow trying to pierce the fog to see what’s down the road. With one foot in the past and the other in the future, the present often slips by unappreciated.
Peace. Joy. Love. We hunger for these. Yet, these treasures are only possible if we are fully present to the people and environment around us.
How do we do this?
Here are three suggestions:
1. Practice breathing deeply. Find a quiet place, relax, close your eyes, and breathe deeply – in through your nose and out through your mouth. Focus on your breathing. Listen. Notice the sounds around you. Do this for several minutes. Practice deep breathing at the same time each day in the same place. Over time, this can help you be more present in the moment as you go through your routine.
2. Practice going to a “safe place” in your mind. A safe place can be real or imaginary. It is a peaceful and relaxing place, and nothing disturbing is allowed entrance. Visit this place in your mind each morning as you practice breathing deeply. This can focus your attention more on the present and living in it.
3. Practice observation. Seeing is one thing, but truly taking something in is another. Practice observing. Nature. Sky. Clouds. Colors. Sunsets. People. Animals. Aromas. Dump all other agendas, and just be. See. Notice. Observe.
These three things work nicely together – deep breathing, time in a safe place, and conscious observation. As we practice these things, they take root and become habits that help us be present in the moment, which often leads to experiencing more peace, joy, love, and contentment than ever before – even in the face of cancer.
The truth is that now is all we have. It’s time to live there – one day, one moment at a time.