Hi there, I know many people who are struggling… just simply struggling. It might be because of things that existed in their past or have never happened in real life or because of being in a place that they don't enjoy in this moment. There are many reasons for their struggle if you were to dig into it, which I do as a career and path to healing… but ultimately it is a lack of being present that is at the core of the emotional turmoil they are suffering through.
When I was a freshman in college I began my rowing career. I embarked on, what was at that point, the hardest training of my physical, spiritual and emotional life. I was pushed to places I didn't know existed within me. I was afraid on a daily basis that I wouldn't make it through practice, that I could possibly perish because it would just be too much for me. An hour before practice I would pace my dorm room and imagine all of the various things I would have to survive in practice. Everyday, without fail, I would leave practice, alive, feeling like I was the most badass person on the planet for surviving the unthinkable!! This practice of fear and relief, of going to the imaginary place and then being brought to the present moment and realizing it wasn't anything I thought it was, happened over and over and over.
I not only experienced this in rowing, I experienced this fear in many areas of my life. In relationships I would imagine that various things were going to happen and be emotionally devastated as if they had already happened, until I was proven wrong. And I was proven wrong every time. The emotional roller coaster of worrying about things, then things ending up better than my worry told me they would, took its toll. By the end of my freshman year I decided that something had to give. I wasn't planning on quitting crew, or life, so I was going to need to approach things differently.
By the time I graduated I had been working on being in the present moment on a regular basis. Then I began my post college training in rowing on an elite level. This was a completely new world of intensity. Nothing I had done resembled the length or the difficulty of the workouts I was now engaging in daily. I had done a lot of preparation over four years to get to the point where I could function without too much fear around impending workouts, and I was now faced with testing out my progress. I remember my first workout was a simple 3 hour steady state row. Just go, for 3 hours. See ya, in 3 hours! After I finished that workout, and felt more than fine… I realized that I would have to control my mind in a way that was no longer half-assed. I was going to have to just stop the thoughts of worry, concern, fear to enter. I was going to survive, if nothing the years previous had shown me it was that I was always wrong about what I worried about. None of the doomsday scenarios had happened and I was, in all honesty, exhausted with being a victim to my own mind. So I stopped. I practiced every day, every moment, being in my body, in my life, in my feelings. I worked relentlessly on it. I created dynamics in my relationships where I didn't allow what wasn't happening to take up too much space.
That was a long time ago and I practice being in the moment without so much of a thought these days. Every now and then I will notice myself drifting off into something that isn't true. For clarification, things that aren't true are things that aren't happening now. Literally. Now you can have memories and you can have hopes, but truth, well the only truth is what I experience in the moment, everything else is interpretation… and to be strict, even this moment is an interpretation and skewed by my perspective. So, though, I have and always do my work, there is a diligence that is necessary for mastery. No matter how great you are at doing something, practice is always necessary to stay sharp and skilled.
For those who are struggling any and everywhere, the true struggle is with yourself, your mind, your beliefs and your perspective. You are the most challenging thing you will ever encounter. The rest is cake. You can choose to do the work or be done. Good luck.