The present is today.
Feeling guilt from our past, worrying about our future, keeps us from missing the most important gift we are given and that is the present. The present is today. It is a gift with a guarantee only for this moment. A gift many of us squander because we are too busy trying to force our expectations into the outcomes of the future. It is the present that matters. A gift that keeps on giving, one day at a time.
We must remove the clutter from our minds.
So how do we stay in the present? How do we keep our focus on the moment in front of us with so much distraction and angst our past and future can heap upon us. First and foremost we refer back to the Hamster Wheel. We must remove the clutter from our minds. Removing the things that distract our focus and steal our energy. We clear space that can be filled with positive agents of real change. Change that leads us to focus solely on one day at a time.
I was brought nose to nose with its grace filled meaning.
I would hear that, “one day at a time”, cliché so often in the rooms of AA. I heard it so often that I became deaf to its true meaning. For the first year and a half of my sobriety I thought it only referred to not drinking for 24 hours. And for that reason it seemed irrelevant because the urge to drink had been lifted from me. But after making a giant step in selfish expectation, which I let be disguised as faith, I was brought nose to nose with its grace filled meaning.
The future and not the present had become my reality.
I had come back to my home town of Broken Arrow, OK. My tail was tucked so far between my legs I was tripping over it. I had a beat up car that barely ran and some clothes in a suitcase and that was about it. My grand plans of following my purpose had gone up in smoke and left me basically homeless, yet again! You see my problem had been that I was focused on the long-term. I had scripted how it all would go, how I would live out this purpose, how I would become successful and prove to everyone my worth. My eyes fixated only on the destination. I was missing the journey. The future and not the present had become my reality. I could not see the forest for the trees, as they say.
I had tried to run before I could walk and ended up face down in the dirt.
My plans began to unravel as my expectations turned to disillusionment. I had been right on my purpose but it was not up to me to write the script. There was no future to ponder, only the present that desperately called for my attention. My purpose hadn’t failed me nor had my God. It was me who had mistakenly looked ahead instead of just being in the present. I had tried to run before I could walk and ended up face down in the dirt. It is through recovery that I had acquired the tools to get back up and see the lesson.
Tomorrow will be here soon enough.
One day at a time. For me it means that, for today, I will focus on things that I can control. I won’t worry about things in my past nor of what is to come in my future. Each day I strive to be the best me that I can be. By doing this the people close to me have what they need from me. At the same time I am becoming a stronger warrior and I find my needs are also being met. I see that my purpose is being fulfilled one step at a time because I am only focused on today. Tomorrow will be here soon enough.
….which has become my weapon of warfare.
So each day I would meditate in the morning on the serenity prayer. I began to read my bible, which has become my weapon of warfare. One of my go to’s was the acceptance paragraph on pg. 417 of the Big Book of AA. That and Psalms 27 were my life preservers. Then I would just simply ask God to drive as I hopped into the back seat. I would trust the day to him, accept it has it came, and do my best in it and my best to react to it. If I felt guilt from the past or worry for the future I would stop and refocus on what was in front of me. It was the only way I could have the greatest impact on the future I hoped to have.
I must use today as a building block for the future.
This doesn’t mean we stop dreaming of a life we want to live. It doesn’t mean that we won’t feel guilt or shame from our past. It is just a transformation of our mindset when it comes to the present. I have realized to get the life I dream of, I must fulfill my purpose for today the best I can. I must use today as a building block for my future. It takes practice. You will have days when it feels like you have failed. You win some and you lose some. But it can be done. I have done it and seen countless others achieve it. I just stay in today, the present, it is a gift. A gift that keeps on giving, one day at a time.
We must fill the free space or the old comes rushing back in like a tidal wave.
Once you have uncluttered the space in your mind we have to allow that free space to be filled with positive agents of change. I challenge you in the mornings to get up a little earlier and begin to read and meditate on whatever it is that holds deep connection for you. I challenge you to put yourself around people who are going in the same direction you aspire to go. Who you are with and where you are affects greatly the direction of your life. We must fill our free space or the old comes rushing back in like a tidal wave.
Please leave a comment on how you stay in the present. What the phrase, “one day at a time”, means to you. Your comments and experiences give hope and strength and after all we are here to help people win.