In his book ULYSSES, Irish novelist James Joyce wrote, “History is the nightmare from which we must awaken.”
Three simple words can guide us from the imprisonment of our past and towards a future without fear. Here they are and here’s why they are so liberating.
Check the time.
Try this. Write down “Check the time” on 5 separate notes and place them in 5 different places. I would suggest these five but any that work for you will do.
- Put a “Check the time” note on your desk
- Put another one in your wallet
- Put a third next to your coffee maker
- Place one on the dashboard of your car
- Drop one in the mail to yourself
As you randomly encounter these notes throughout the course of your day(s), take a moment to follow this simple directive. Check the time.
What you will discover is a startling consistency. Regardless of whether it is night or day, regardless of what time zone you are in, regardless of where you are on the planet, what you’re doing or who you’re with, an unwavering reality will emerge.
Whenever you check the time, it will always be NOW. It will always be the present.
On the surface this may seem like a rather benign observation, but beneath the obvious lies a powerful perspective that literally changes lives.
In the NOW is where we exist. It is where every event in a human life occurs without exception. It is the only place where we can choose to proceed with what we’re doing or choose a different path. But unfortunately, NOW is a space that very few people can comfortably occupy.
Instead of focusing on the present, so many people are mired in their past, mistakenly thinking that what happened yesterday somehow dictates what happens today. And if not anchored in their past, people are just as likely to be distracted by an imaginary future filled with fearful visions of uncertainty and anxiety. Whether anchored to the past or intimidated by the future, both serve to blind us to the power of the moment.
Try it again now. Check the time.
Once again, we find the time is now.
Try it again tomorrow. Try it again next week. Try it again in 10 years.
With a little practice and an open mind, a profound clarity emerges that there never was, and there never will be, anything but the present. The now.
The ramifications are astounding. The freedom is barely conceivable. The past is about what happened before. It is literally the “nightmare” from which we can awaken. The present on the other hand, is about the limitless possibilities of what can happen now.
If I did not exercise before, the present offers the freedom to move.
If I was a smoker before, in the present I am free to quit.
If I was quick to anger before, the present offers the relief of patience.
Check the time. Your latest chance to escape your personal nightmare has just arrived.
If I lived in judgement of others before, the present allows me to show compassion.
If I did not believe in myself before, the present has the power to unchain me from my doubts.
If troubled by past mistakes, the present holds the gift of self-forgiveness.
The past if what I chose before. The present is what I choose today. Within this revelation lies the greatest of human freedoms. The freedom to choose. The promise of hope.
Check the time.
It is always now. It is always here. It is the awakening within our grasp.
Executive Health and Performance Coach Billy Sheehan partners with time-challenged professionals to reengineer the relationship between their personal health and professional careers. The resulting balance creates the optimal environment for achieving the highest levels of long-term success.
Learn more at www.billythecoach.com