“If you are thinking too much about the past, and you are worrying too much about the future, then you are not living in the present. And in the present, that is all there is.”
A quote I read recently went something like that. I don’t know the exact wording, but the whole idea behind that statement has stuck with me. Ever since I’ve been meditating, I have had this new positive outlook on life. I do my best to stay in the moment; I do not worry about the past, and I do not worry about the future.
I’ve mentioned before that I have slight social anxiety, and this past weekend I was at a wedding where my fiancée was a bridesmaid. I didn’t know anybody else there. I only met the bride a couple times, and I met one of the other bridesmaids a few times as well. Other than that, I knew nobody. A couple years ago I probably would have felt extremely nervous leading up to this wedding; not knowing anybody and being in that type of situation would have made me feel very anxious.
Leading up to this particular wedding, however, I was not worried about anything at all. While I was there, I did not feel as self-conscious or nervous about meeting new people. It was an outdoor wedding on a ranch, so there was a lot to look at and experience. I was able to meet some of the other guests and take in the scenery. I tried to stay as mindful as I could, and it certainly did help me.
Getting to this ranch was a trek. I drove through some rural roads in the next town over. After about 20 minutes of driving through nothing but fields, hills, and sparse houses, I finally got to the ranch. There was a nice older fellow who directed me to the parking lot, which consisted of dirt and trees—no roads here anymore. Once I parked and got out of my car, my fiancée greeted me who had been there since the morning helping setting everything up and getting herself ready as a bridesmaid. She introduced me to one of the other bridesmaid’s boyfriend. He didn’t know anybody there either, so we pretty much became companions the rest of the day.
The ceremony was outdoors among hills and trees, and a nice gazebo. They had their two dogs as the ring bearers; they even had them dressed in dog tuxedos, which was a nice touch. After the ceremony and while the wedding party were taking pictures, there were hors d’oeuvres and drinks served inside a beautiful barn. One of the other guests told us that the groom had actually rebuilt that barn within the past year; it used to be in terrible shape and extremely old. Now it looked brand new and extraordinarily well crafted (not that I know much about barns).
The reception was outdoors as well. Overall, very well put together and fun. They had games, music, and a cool little photo booth. The food was buffet style and they had an open bar.
If I had not established a meditation routine, I probably would have hated being there and would have just been counting the minutes until we could leave. But because of this newfound attitude, I truly was able to appreciate this day.
Going back to that quote from earlier regarding living in the present—I realized that I had been thinking about the past way too much. I would replay certain situations in my mind where I would feel embarrassed or insecure about what I said or did. I have to remind myself that people are not going to remember my embarrassing moments, because they’ll be preoccupied with what’s going on in their own lives.
And it wasn’t just the past that I was overly anxious about. I would worry about the future too much as well. For example, for the wedding—I probably would have imagined awkward scenarios I’d put myself in, which would cause myself to be extremely anxious and nervous about attending. But now, instead of focusing on the future, I look at the present as the time to focus on. After doing that more, I feel much more calm and at ease. I feel less stressed out and less worried about how I should act or what I should say. I was not worried at all about being at a wedding not knowing anyone.
Meditating helped me see all of this. As I have attempted to bring mindfulness to my daily life, I am seeing these minor improvements in my life. The wedding is just a small example. On a larger scale, in more social situations I feel more at ease. I am not worried about what to say or how to act; I am remaining in the moment, being mindful as I live my life.
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