Focus on What You Can Do Now

Posted 06.24.2013

One of the biggest barriers to being present is worrying about what might happen in the future rather than what you can do right now.

Two of my favorite quotes speak to this challenge.  The Renaissance writer, Montaigne, wrote, “My life has been full of misfortunes most of which never happened”.  A few hundred years later, Thomas Jefferson expressed the similar idea, “How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened.”

This topic is on my mind today because of a realization I had after a yoga class yesterday.

Thanks to the normal wear and tear of middle age along with some of the chronic conditions that can make themselves at home in our bodies, I’ve been focused a lot lately on some wonky tweaks going on with me.

In my less mindful moments, I find that I can pretty quickly get sucked into the “What if?” cycle.  You know how it goes.  “What if this happens?  Then, what if that happens?  Wow, what if that happens too?  That would really stink.”  Before I know it, I’ve wasted a good bit of time on those questions and usually feel worse than when I started asking them.

So, as I was laying on the mat waiting for class yesterday, I was sort of doing the full body scan trying to predict how things were going to go for the next 90 minutes.  Spoiler alert – it went great.  The sweat flowed in a good way.  The joints moved nicely.  The muscles stretched.  I even got up into a handstand on the first attempt and set a new personal record for holding it for several seconds with my feet away from the wall.

On the way home from class, I was thinking about and feeling grateful for all of the things my body can do.  Then I started wondering why I’ve spent so much time worrying about what it might not be able to do in the future.  The fact of the matter is there are things I can’t do today that I used to be able to do (running a marathon for example).  But, there are still a hell of a lot of things I can do right now and I’m actually learning new ones (like handstands) all the time.

So, on this Mindful Monday, here’s what I’ve concluded.  My capabilities aren’t determined by my limitations. (TWEET THIS) Unless, of course, I spend so much time worrying about what my limitations might be in the future that I don’t maximize my capabilities today.

What capabilities do you have today that trump any limitations you might have?