A valuable lesson the foster-to-adopt process has taught me is the importance of staying out of the future. Yes, setting an intention for a desired outcome can be helpful and fun but eventually you have to let the outcome go and trust that whatever unfolds is the highest and best. Our job is to stay in the present moment and practice being aware of the blessings that are here now.
Staying present might feel difficult when you're working towards something that feels important to you. It's important to claim your desire and trust that it's possible; we know that anything is possible so why not play big? However, we suffer when we're attached to a specific outcome and believe that our happiness is contingent on things happening a specific way.
If I'm attachment to what I think is best, when something pops up that might prevent or delay my "perfect scenario" fantasy from happening, I immediately feel threatened and go into attack mode. Suddenly, the world feels unfair and people who are doing the same thing that I am (moving towards what they want) become obstacles to my dreams coming true.
It's all nonsense.
One of my favorite spiritual teachers, Byron Katie said, "Want fear? Get a future." She knew that all our stress lives in made up scenarios that may or may not happen. We never know what is actually going to unfold but we certainly get upset by what we think might happen. It's all a fantasy and we have the power to stop this upsetting cycle by staying in the present.
When we're disciplined enough to stay present in our lives, it becomes clear that everything has unfolded as it should, when it should and all the peace in the world is available to us now. This is why consciously practicing gratitude is such a game-changer, it allows you to stay present to the blessings that are here now. Mindful meditation is another helpful tool that keeps us firmly planted in the now while helping us release the judgments that stress us out.
When we're present to our lives we see that everything is actually okay. Even the most challenging experiences offer gifts when we show up willing to stay present. Love is always here but we often miss the miracle because we're too distracted by what we fear might happen tomorrow.
Jesse Brune-Horan is a spiritual teacher and happy living expert. He's the co-founder and spiritual director of Inspire Spiritual Community. Over the last decade he's given hundreds of teachings, workshops, and classes on spiritual living.