Thinking Now, Not Thinking Ahead

I anticipate. I think ahead. I plan ahead. I look forward to the future.

I also anticipate the bad. I act in advance to prevent disaster. I worry. I fear.

The first is healthy. The second is not.

To encourage the first type of thinking and reduce the second, I’ve been practicing mindfulness—thinking and living in the present, feeling with the senses, answering questions as they appear, allowing feelings to exist and then leave.

It works well . . . until something happens.

I lost my sunglasses.

Whenever Paul borrows my car, he leaves my sunglasses in his vehicle for me. He left on a trip and took my car to the airport. After a few cloudy days the sun returned, and I needed to see. I searched his vehicle for my sunglasses. Not in the front console. Not in the side pockets. I gave up looking and just made do.

I searched my car when he returned. No sunglasses in those side pocket either. I resigned myself to do without them.

Yesterday, the morning sun glared brighter. I was cheered that it’s rising earlier, but I couldn’t see. I sat at the stop light and adopted that old mode of thinking. In my head I planned an exhaustive search of both cars, my bags, and the house. I was overwhelmed and exhausted just thinking about it.

But then I stopped. (I’m getting better at knowing when to do that.) I quieted my head. The late-winter sun warmed me through the windshield. Then this thought came, “Lift up the armrest between the front seats.”

Allowing the “problem” to be resolved in calm rather than solved in anxiety feels good—good enough that I think I can trust without trying to over control the outcome.


  1. Terresa Wellborn
    Feb 18, 2010

    Trusting without trying to control the outcome. That really grabs me. And I will keep on trying to trust.

  2. Linda
    Feb 24, 2010

    Wow, I need to try that. When I misplace something I can get pretty worked up trying to find it. I am sure there is so much clutter in my head about where it could be that I can’t find it. Thinking now sounds like a good way to approach every day issues. I know we need to plan ahead but do we sometimes solve ahead, something that may never happen. I got to think on that.

    Thanks for your post on our blog http://www.alwayssomethingtotalkabout .
    Enjoyed it.

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