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Left behind in my imaginary past

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By Dave Henning / July 2, 2019

“I allow my emotions to walk into the future without any rational mind, like a gang of toddlers without a parent.  I can’t possibly do the next right thing because I’ve traveled so far into the future that my next right thing is left behind in my imaginary past.”- Emily P. Freeman

“Like many addicts, I had sensed a personal crash coming.  For a decade and a half, I’d been a web-obsessive, publishing blog posts multiple times a day, seven days a week. . . .  But Id’ begun to fear that his new way of living was actually becoming a way of non-living.”- Andrew Sullivan, I Used to Be a Human Being

In Chapter 11 (“Stay In Today”) of The Next Right Thing, Emily P. Freeman observes that stillness before God (Psalm 46:10) makes way for the knowing.  This stillness creates space, just like a soul minimalist trailblazes the way for the naming of unnamed things.

Consequently, stopping on purpose fosters your practice of the unforced rhythms of grace.  On the other hand, your body rehearses anxiety when you’re constantly in motion.  Emily adds: “Ironically, in choosing to finally stop chasing something we don’t think we have, we may end up finding what was always there.”

In conclusion, Emily talks about two steps to help you stay present in this day:

  1.  First, take one overwhelming thing on  your mind causing you to flit into the future with imaginary plans or fret over latent worry.  After you state what it is, turn your statement into a question.  End your question with the word today.
  2. If you answer your question no, set it aside.  However, if you answer the question yes, here’s what you do.  Identify the next right thing you can do right now related to that concern.  Because you only possess where you are this moment.  You can’t be two places at once.  So, Emily advises, stay in today.

Today’s question: Do you identify with Emily that I’m “left behind in my imaginary past’?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Learning to be where you are”

About the author

Dave Henning


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