I credit my current mental state and well-being to clawing my way out of a rather traumatic situation a few years ago thanks to learning how to exist in the “now,” no matter how terrifying, soul crushing, or painful. It was a time I felt for certain I could not survive, at least emotionally if not physically, so minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, time passed and I got through it. It was probably over a year later when I stopped to realize that by doing things that way I actually got to a much better place – not a trouble-free or pain-free place, but a place where I wasn’t having to call on all my resources to get through soul-crushing panic every minute.
The story from there to here is too long to tell right now. One item, though, is the change between myself of 10 years ago, and myself now. I used to be a collector of mementos and souvenirs. From tokens that came from friends, books I read as a child, toy figures, mugs, stuffed animals, I kept it all. I especially loved photos that proved where and when I was. These were all anchors, mostly to the past. I found that last year, after I shipped a few boxes from my mom’s house to my home that after I examined their contents, I was no longer interested in cracking them open again. Much of it seemed like foreign memories, and little of it did I wish to remember.
Staying in the present is not an easy thing. I have a few things I do to keep myself as chill as possible (which is not an easy task, since I’m prone to anxiety.) Mostly it’s asking myself, what is now? I take a sensory inventory, without judgment, to figure out where my body and mind are at, sometimes just focusing on the sounds and the air around me.
I hate being dragged into the past.
Last weekend I had a conversation with a relative who has a tendency to bring up the distant past, with memories of the same time periods quite divergent to my own. There’s hints of judgment and blame that swing to praising the very thing that was judged as negative. Every step in the conversation that I tried to take forward, I felt yanked three feet back. Though I’ve had some resolution to some if it in the subsequent days, I still feel it tugging at me.
I think one of the main reasons I shy away from blogging is that when it’s not recipes, restaurant or product reviews, it’s something that has passed, and I don’t want to dwell on it any longer than I absolutely have to. Even present, news-worthy events, I don’t want to dwell on. It provides an anchor, and I’m terrified of being anchored to a past idea, event, or self.
This post is an anchor, but maybe by putting it here, it can serve as a reminder to let it go.