Look down. Where are your feet?
Chances are, they’re just below your ankles, as they should be. Whether they’re in the air, propped up on your desk, or on the ground, your feet are always in the now. They aren’t walking in the past, or running in the future. They’re here, now.
(Unless you own a Delorean…in which case let’s talk lottery numbers…)
So back to your feet. Why would you care where your feet are? The point is not really so much about your feet, but about your physical body always being just here, now, in the present. It’s our minds that tend to wander. It’s our thinking that stresses and worries over the future, and ruminates and obsesses over the past. But our feet? Warm and cozy right here in the now.
Life can only be experienced in this present moment.
Everything else is just imaginary, something we day dream ourselves into. Most of us would admit that we catch ourselves shivering in the cold morning air and wishing we were already on that beach vacation, imagining how deliciously warm the sun will be on our skin. Most of us have sat through a tedious meeting and willed the clock to speed up so that we can be tucked into pajamas with pizza and Netflix. Those aren’t exactly mindful moments, but they usually don’t cause much harm.
When it becomes dangerous is when we notice a date on the calendar is the anniversary of a sad event, and we use that as a gateway to reminisce about those sad times, reliving every painful memory until we are convinced that we are once again stuck in depression with no way out. It’s unhealthy when we have a glimmer of a worry about the future, about something that could-maybe-possibly-but-probably-won’t happen, and we become fixated on the stress and anxiety that seems to accompany this tiny possibility and get stuck in a vortex of terror and panic. It’s detrimental when we pass an innocuous building with a sign out front that somehow reminds us that it’s been so many hours since we last had a drink, or a pill, or a hit, and we whoosh out of the now and into craving of what we think we are lacking. Time travel is almost always about escaping the now, of changing what is. And unhealthy thinking is almost intrinsically linked to judgment of some kind—whether it is that we don’t like this situation, we wish it were different, or later, or we were different somehow—but it is certainly the opposite of being present, of being okay with what is, with “now”.
That’s why your feet are such good co-pilots for this type of situation. They’re just gliding along in the now. If you can look down and remember to be where they are, those non-judgmental feet of yours, you might just catch yourself before you time travel into someplace unhealthy in your mind. Every step you allow your mind to take that is in alignment with your feet, is a step towards mindfulness…and a step towards mental peace. So…be where your feet are.
If you’d like to learn more about our holistic, mindfulness-based substance abuse treatment facility located near Atlanta, GA, give us a call at 800-556-2966.