An ordinary day in the present
Have you ever noticed just how capable you can be if something is sprung upon you without notice? This weekend I set off on a planned journey to visit a friend, a couple of hours drive away. I packed light – I would be staying for just one night, and looked forward to relaxing. The car was all ready except for setting the satnav. I sat on the drive in the sunshine with the door open, just getting the address plugged in. My husband waited. All good – I kissed my hubby goodbye, and off I went.
I was buzzing happily along the M5, an hour or so into my journey, humming to the tunes on the radio, when the phone rang. I answered on hands free.
Me – ‘Hi James. Everything OK?’
James – ‘ Yes, all good. Don’t suppose you’ve got the dog with you?’
Me – (Confidently) ’No, of course not!’
Except that I did…… There he was, on the floor behind the passenger seat! A stowaway!
Change of Plan!
At this point, as you can imagine, a lot of thoughts and a few choice phrases went through my mind. And then my rational brain clicked into action and I pulled into the next service station. I had nothing at all with me to care for a dog. No lead, not even a collar. No food, water bowl or poo bags. And I was way too far into my journey to go back with the stoopid dog! Within minutes I’d found a shady spot to park the car, dashed in to the loo, purchased a collar and lead (and borrowed some scissors to free them from the packaging), and been given a poo bag by a kind dog owner nearby. The water bottle in my car worked well enough for a doggy drink.
To be fair, I think my poor dog was more shocked than I was to find himself at Sedgemoor Services, instead of the beach or woods he probably thought we were heading for! I’m sure it wasn’t what he had in mind when he snuck in behind the passenger seat on the driveway at home…
All’s Well that Ends Well
It all turned out fine. My understanding and highly amused best friend owns a dog so she was happy to have an extra guest. Not quite sure what her dog thought about mine turning up and requisitioning the sofa in the first five minutes.
The whole thing got me thinking though. Had I planned to take the dog from the beginning, there would have been plenty of pre-event thought going into it. What if I forget his bowl, food, treats, toy, lead etc etc Will he be OK in the back of the car?
- What if… it’s too hot
- What if he gets sick
- What if he doesn’t get on with my friends’ dog
- What if he won’t stay off the sofa. (he wouldn’t )
All those ‘What if’s’ build up over time. Imagine that the trip was planned 2 weeks in advance. I may have mulled over those questions hundreds of times. Sure, I would have been well prepared, but I also would have created a level of stress or anxiety around the situation, purely through my thinking around something that hadn’t yet taken place. Instead, when I was surprised to discover the dog in the car, I had to go straight into solution mode. Yes, there was a level of stress, but this was quickly alleviated by the action I was taking to find those solutions.
Acting in the Present
Instead of living in the future, as I would have been if I’d been thinking about this in advance, I was forced by circumstance to live, think and act very much in the present. What if we could always do this? Only worry about problems as they arise? What if there was no need for anxiety in the first place?
Life would be so much easier
Creating stress and anxiety around something that only exists in our imagination is a great way to ensure that you don’t make the most of the present. The same applies to the past. When I retell the story of my stowaway, for some there may be a feeling of anxiety as they think about what MIGHT have gone wrong. There’s no need. Everything was fine, and we managed excellently without a single bit of planning.
Are you someone who overthinks?
Do you put obstacles in the way of enjoying this day because of what MIGHT happen tomorrow? Imagine how life could be if you could let go of the overthinking. Solution Focused Therapy and Hypnotherapy are excellent at turning down the dial of overthinking. Sessions allow you to find solutions, and to access your inner resources for calm and confidence.
If you’d like to find out more, and schedule a first Clarity session, please click the link below.
Yesterday has gone, and with it have gone all influences that could make it any different. Tomorrow is a myth, that we colour with our imagination. Today, this very moment, all is real, and for this moment we live.