“A man stands in his shadow and wonders why it is dark…Zen Proverb”
This quote resonates with me on a very personal level. Until I found that it was me that I was looking for, it was impossible for me to move out of the shadow. Looking back, I found that the only obstacle that has been in my way has been myself. Realizing that so much of what happens to me or how I feel about it is very much my own choice. Practicing mindfulness has shown me the value of living in each moment. I have spent so much of my life regretting things from my past, feeling guilt and shame for a time that no longer exists and cannot be changed and then stressed out and worried about my future, something that is not even here yet. What I have learned is that when I am stuck in the past, or stressing about the future, not only am I suffering, but I am missing out on what time does matter, the here and now. Being mindful of myself means being kind, patient and gentle with my thoughts and what emotions might come from them. I learned not to judge so much of what I think I might end up feeling in a situation or how my actions might affect others, in order to keep myself from feeling bad about doing something that is actually necessary. Practicing mindfulness has taught me that even with a past that at one time made it difficult to even look at my own reflection, I had not only created my own suffering, but I was the one allowing it to continue. And, if I, myself, was in charge in control of my suffering, then I must also have control of my happiness. We all know how badly it feels when we are suffering, and how hard it can be to see things any other way than how they seem to be. But once you realize the very simple act of rooting yourself in the very moment you are already in, you can, with a little mindfulness practice, be the tool that helps relieve your stress, lighten your load, or just help you breathe a little easier… and, who couldn’t use a little dose of that.