Well, once again I was inspired by the lyrics to a song I was listening to this morning. The song is “How You Live” by Point of Grace, and the lyrics are a great reminder of what Gestalt psychologists call “being in the here-and-now”:
“Have what you want but want what you have and don’t spend your life looking back. Turn up the music. Turn it up loud. Take a few chances. Let it all out. ‘Cause you won’t regret it, looking back from where you have been, ’cause it’s not who you knew and it’s not what you did. It’s how you live.”
Wow. What a powerful message for those of us who spend much of our days in the past or the future, living in our heads, counting calories, worrying about what number we’ll see on the scale, trying to impress people, constantly seeking perfection in all of our deeds, one-upping ourselves and others every time. Let me repeat those important words: “It’s not who you knew and it’s not what you did. It’s how you live.”
In my training as a counselor, we were taught that there was much more valuable information to be learned from examining a client’s “process” than just looking at the “content” that they bring to therapy. In other words, it’s the HOW, not the WHAT that’s important.
There’s no way we can pay attention to HOW we’re living when we’re stuck in B.E.D., caught in the cycle of dieting and bingeing. The first step to being more “in the here-and-now”, more in the present, more focused on “how” and not “what”, is realizing that when others look back on our lives it won’t matter who we knew or what we did. I think we know this intuitively, but lose sight of it when we’re blinded by representations of what we should look like, what we should eat, what we should weigh. At the end of our time on earth, people will remember how we lived our lives…fearfully, passionately, negatively, energetically, angrily, with curiosity…this is what people will remember.
What tools and strengths do you have that can help you focus more on how instead of what? It might help to make a list of a few strategies you could use to keep you present-focused. And even now, as you re-orient and put yourself back on course, “don’t spend your life looking back.”
Peace, joy, and health!