Not sure if its global warming or El Nino or some combination of the two, but this winter has had some very un-winter like days. Bright blue skies in winter usually come with super cold temperatures, but not this year. No gloves or hats or even boots necessary. No block heaters needed. Not much shovelling of snow.
Of course as usual the weather is a popular topic of conversation and lately it sounds something like this:
Isn’t this weather amazing?
Yeah it’s been so mild it’s great.
I can’t remember the last time we had such a warm winter…but you know…we’re going to pay for it sometime.
There it is – the idea that good weather means we have to pay later with some kind of bad weather.
In eavesdropping on this current conversation it’s apparent to me that we all subscribe to the concept of some great cosmic re-balancing, particularly related to weather, but not limited to it. When things are going well, we don’t like to be too attached to these happy circumstances because at some point we think the other shoe will drop.
We stop enjoying what’s happening now – sunny skies, warm weather or any other good fortune – and begin ruminating about whatever it is that might happen later.
So what’s up that?
Why do we have a tendency to skip over the present moment and fast forward to some point in the future?
I do believe in the idea of yin-yang. Everything is constantly in flux moving back and forth along a continuum of opposites. So I guess that is a cosmic re-balancing.
But just because at some point light turns to dark or up goes down or nice weather turns nasty doesn’t mean we should not pay attention to what is happening right now…and yes enjoy it.
As human beings we have a negativity bias which means our brains typically pay more attention to the bad stuff than the good stuff. That might have been helpful for our cavemen ancestors who were constantly on the alert for threats. I’m not sure how useful that is today.
As we go through our days, we don’t have to constantly project into the future and imagine a negative outcome. Who knows? Maybe it will be sunny skies and warm weather clear through until the summer.
So much of our time is devoted to future thinking. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Future thinking is where imagining and goal setting and planning take place. What’s not helpful is to continually jump out of the present moment to what might happen at some point in the future – particularly when we tend to default to a negative perspective. Maybe it will snow in May. Maybe I will have to wear my winter coat in the spring. What I do know for sure is that here in the present moment it’s spectacular weather.
So how do you get out of this loop that if it’s good it’s going to go bad?
Catch yourself when you say or think some version of needing to pay for your good fortune later.
Later is later. It’s not right now.
Right now it’s pretty nice outside. Enjoy it.
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What pulls you out of the present moment?
PS This article first appeared in my community blog Life Goes On for the St. Albert Gazette.