In the present

Part of what domestic violence survivors deal with is a constant state of anticipation. We watch other people and try to figure out what move they’ll make next. We try to determine what people are feeling when they’re not talking: are they happy? Sad? Angry? And what did we do to cause these feelings?

It’s a horrible way to live. Because it’s not living — at all.

I never even knew I was “living” this way until I went through trauma therapy. Since then, I have tried to learn how to eliminate this part of my inner life because it has been incredibly damaging to me. I do wonder how the stress has affected me physically in ways I can’t see. On the outside, I see myself beginning to succumb to some old-age symptoms (and I’m only 52!), and I want to reverse this trend.

I’d thought about taking classes in meditation, but what stopped me is the same thing that prevents me from taking yoga classes: I still have problems being what I perceive as physically vulnerable in a group of strangers.

Instead, I bought a recorded version of Eckhart Tolle’s “Practicing the Power of Now.” I tried reading his book “The Power of Now” and couldn’t get through it, although I may try again. The “Practicing” book is good because it actually does give practical exercises for being in the present moment instead of ruminating on the past or trying to anticipate or predict the future.

I’m almost finished with my first listen, and then I’m going to listen to it a second time. After that, I’ll share some techniques here, once I’m more comfortable using them, myself.

For now, I’ll leave you with this thought: the future is an illusion. And any anxiety I feel about the future is also an illusion, something I’m creating, myself. Since I created it, I can destroy it. And that’s what I’m choosing to do today: to crush the anxiety I feel much of the time and replace it with love for myself.

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