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The importance of living in the present and letting go of the past and future
Image / Self / Advice

The importance of living in the present and letting go of the past and future


by Niamh Ennis
22nd Aug 2022

We say that we want to create a reality that feels worthy of us, that we want to manifest our deepest desires and attract to us that career, relationship, friend, home or opportunity that will make our lives a better place for us to be. We say it, but we do so many things that contradict it, and in fact ensure that rather than calling it in, we are always pushing it away.

The example of this that I get to see most often in my practice, is our inability and resistance to living in the present. This usually leads me to point out some of the following, more obvious, outcomes to this behaviour. You simply cannot manifest anything in the past or even in the future. You can only do it in the now. When your focus is placed on this present moment, what’s happening right now, you end up making room for what you are looking to create or call in. And it comes.

Heart vs Ego

Let’s dive a little deeper. If you think of it as this place where you conceive your reality, where you manifest your desires, as originating and coming from your heart space. It is birthed within you in that very space where you feel, emote, love, desire, dream and create. Yet the resistance to knowing that you are worthy, deserving of it, or possess the confidence to believe that you can initiate this, comes entirely from your ego, which lives in your head space. It is your ego that promotes that feeling of ‘busyness’ in you, that offers up all of those things that serve only to distract you, from your past as well as your future.

I’m guessing that somewhere along the way, you’ve been sold the idea that your ego protects you, by drawing attention to what could go wrong; when in fact, it is your ego that needs to be trained to focus on the here and now. I see clients all the time who find it so incredibly hard to let go of the past and they are often stuck in a cycle of just reliving the patterns from times past. They do this because it feels safer and more familiar to keep doing what they have always done even if it is making them miserable.

This kind of change, let’s face it, can be really hard; as you are looking to break lifetime habits and that requires discipline and more than a little focus on just why this matters to you so much.

Repeated ways of thinking lead to repeated events

In my own life, I know of too many times where I naively felt that I was engaging in self-protection by shutting myself off from those who may have hurt or disappointed me in the past. Deciding not to allow anyone else that same access to my heart, I believed, was helping me avoid a repeat performance. Imagine my devastation when I discovered that it wasn’t and that the same thing just kept happening. Not only had my obsession with events from my past stopped me from being open to a future of new friendships and relationships, but it contributed directly to the repetition of being let down over and over again. It took for me to fully realise the importance of letting the past go, as well as acknowledging the power I possessed through my own thoughts, to readjust just how I was showing up in the present. When I started to focus on the present, I was also unwittingly creating so much more space for new people to show up in my life, and they did, and that felt magical.

Detach from your drama

If you are being truthful, you know that you all have a tendency to get attached to the dramas in your lives. When something bad happens – a redundancy, a heartbreak, a death – it takes the wind out of you. It can, in reality, traumatise you and cause your defences to go straight up. Not everything in your life will go your way all the time; but how you navigate the harder times is what paves way for the learnings that will get you to the brighter ones. When you stay stuck reliving the past, or get obsessed by the future, and all that could go wrong there, you are simply living in a very crowded, busy and unhealthy place.

So, what can you do to help yourself? Start by being more aware when you hear yourself talking about your past in conversation. Equally, avoid discussions where you indulge in sharing your fears for what might be coming down the track. When you feel your thoughts going there, try in that instant and swap them for something completely different; it will feel sticky doing this at first, but persist. Use journaling prompts each morning that will get you focused on the present; such as “Today I choose to do/ feel / think” or “Today I get to do/ feel / think”.

If any of this feels like a waste of time then I would ask you to consider what you could do with that time that you spend thinking about events that have happened in your past, which you can do nothing about now, or agonising over events that have yet to happen, which you have zero control; then tell me which is a waste of your time?

Let me leave the final words on this to none other than the Dalai Lama – “there are two days when nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow. So today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live”.

Niamh Ennis is Ireland’s leading Transformation Coach, Author and Coach for the IMAGE Business Club. She’s known for her practical solutions to life’s challenges and her ability to tell you not what you want to hear but always what you need. She best represents strategy meets spirituality and has just launched THE CHANGE ACCELERATOR her Self-Study Online Programme for those looking to make real changes. Find her on Instagram @1niamhennis or niamhennis.com.