When I read this last night in the January issue of O (Oprah) Magazine, I had one of her “Aha!” moments. For “attaching myself to the outcome” was exactly the thing I’ve always done. I’ve always been goal-oriented, driven, conscientious, competitive—nothing wrong with those traits, but when “attaching myself to the outcome” of my work, I create a never-ending river of rapids where, despite what I believe, I am not in control, and in fact outside forces and circumstance are completely in control of me as I hurtle from rock to rock, place to place, every so often my head above water, but so often I’m barely able to catch my breath.
In my life as a published author, this manifests itself as: I write the best books I know how with sincere love and hope and a whole lot of hard work and sacrifice. Where I attach myself to the outcome is when I angst and worry and make myself half-sick (or wholly sick) that I’m not achieving some “Desired Outcome” such as a literary prize, or a best seller list, or a review in some Big Magazine, or high on some ranking, etc etc etc—those are things for which I really have little control, so I’m tumbling willy nilly down those rapids, trying to grab onto slippery rocks (and banging myself up in the process), or grabbing at things just out of my reach. I attach my self worth to some outcome, instead of to what I have already achieved. I do not live in the Right Now where I see each step I make, each tiny, or large, goal that I achieve in that moment as a success, as a part of my journey–I have not been paying attention, living my life for the moment. Everything has been about attaching myself to the OUTCOME–some faraway thing I’m hurtling towards.
What Oprah said so resonated with me, I felt my innards relax, gave myself permission to let go. It helps that I was ready for this statement, because already I’d been letting some things go, already assessing my life as an author, a woman, a mother, a grandmother, a sister, a friend. How many moments have I lost because I did not pay attention to the Right Now and instead kept looking so very far ahead? Well, actually, that’s still never-ending-circle thinking! Instead, I think, “Right now, I’m feeling happy to share this AHA moment with you.”
What about how goal-oriented we are when it comes to fitness and health—and our weight? I mean, it’s all goal-oriented in the weight-loss field isn’t it? Actor Before; Actor After—everyone sees the outcome of the actor’s work on Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers, and let the games begin as you look at the “After” and say, “I want that! That’s what I want!” All the betweens for this person are unknown or forgotten.
But what if you didn’t attach yourself to the outcome? What if you didn’t attach some self-worth to the end-goal? What if you said to yourself, “Right now, this moment, I can’t control some future outcome—I don’t know what the future will bring. However! I can control the Right Now.” What if you lowered the FUTURE stakes by concentrating on the RIGHT NOW stakes.
When you say, for example, “I want to be healthy, in shape, and lose fifty pounds,” you are thinking of OUTCOME—the End Goal, some Thing that is off into the future. What if
you changed that to say, “Right now, I am going to go to the gym.” You go to the gym. At the gym you say, “Right now, I am going to jump on the treadmill and walk/run/walk-run.” Then you do it. You step off the treadmill and say, “I feel pretty good. Right now, I’m going to do some yoga/pilates/weights/stretching.” And you do it. You go home and you feel great, so Right Now you eat a sensible meal with some protein and carb. You say, “Right now, I’m going to eat an apple for dessert.” Who wants to think, “I can never have dessert again!” Bleah! BORING! UNREALISTIC! But, “Right now, I’m going to eat an apple for dessert,” is manageable, right?
Each thing you do, you do In The Moment, not thinking of outcomes, not basing your worth on some future goal, but on each goal no matter how small it may seem. You celebrate every small thing, or large thing, that you do and live in the RIGHT NOW.
Perhaps when you tell yourself, “Right now I’m going to go for a walk;” “Right now I’m not going to eat that candy bar;” “Right now I’m going to go to the gym and work out;” “Right now I’m happy because I lost a pound;” “Right now I’m happy because I was able to walk up the stairs without gasping for air;” “Right now I feel really great because I played catch with my kids/grandkids;” “Right now I look kick-ass in these jeans that I am able to now button,” you give yourself permission to live your life as it unfolds, in incremental joys, instead of always looking ahead and feeling frustrated because you Aren’t There Yet.
Stay in the moment(s) you are in. Enjoy your life RIGHT NOW. Celebrate every little, and big, moment in this Right Now.
How do you think that would feel? To live in the Right Now? Not to attach your happiness, your self-worth, your life on some outcome, but to let go of that and live your live in the moments? Why not give it a try?