I used to spend a lot of time concerned with the past. I would mull around in my headspace for hours about the fool I was, the mistakes I made, the ignorance with which I conducted myself, and the arrogance I maintained. I would beat myself up about it. I would lose precious moments in the Now paying my due for the unfixable dummy I used to be. I would then get frustrated with myself for dwelling on such things and wasting that time. The weird thing is that by being frustrated with myself for who I was, I was costing myself that much more time in the Now.
I have begun the process of learning to release. Releasing me from me. Setting myself free from my own self has been challenging, and some days I fail – miserably. It has taken specific and tangible work to learn this art of releasing what has been. I touched on this in my previous post, The Haze, about a single day where this feeling overwhelmed me from the inside out.
The tool I use most often is an Ignatian prayer called The Examen. This formulaic prayer has opened me to a new mental state I previously found unattainable. At first, I found it ironic that the structure of this prayer was so basic, yet was capable of yielding immense light and life in my mind. Now, 3 years into using this discipline, I am beginning to understand that the basic structure inherently allows for depth and growth. It forces me to face up to mistakes while creating space to see where God was at work in the day. It holds these two in tension allowing me to see that one does not negate the work of the other. The link will walk you through it. I strongly urge you to give it a shot.
The Examen, as well as disciplines like “Centering Prayer” and “Lectio Divina,” have all propelled me deeper in relation to God and relation to myself. I feel a freedom to fully be me. I no longer have to front or carry a shield to deflect any question that penetrates beyond my shell. This comfort creates enough space for me to live in the Now.
The Now. Living in it can slip right through my fingers. It can elude even the greatest minds – which I certainly am not. Only when I release my past, die to myself, and stop white-knuckling my future can I enjoy this moment.
In Matthew 6:34, Jesus says, “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Jesus wants his people to live in freedom and peace. To do so, we must first relinquish our weak stronghold of time, because time – in its sly way – just keeps going.
I do not want to be heard saying, “If you have anxiety, just stop having anxiety.” That is a ridiculous statement and misuses the text. I do not hear Jesus saying that. I hear Jesus enabling his people to lay down the weapons they use on their own hearts and minds, and enter into a moment of peace and kindness to self.
Today, just for now, I choose to release myself from myself, my past, and my future and will live as best I can right Now. I choose to be kind to myself and accept who I am.
I urge you to join me in this Good Work.
Grace and Peace,