I was driving to meet two blogger friends—one of them is a fellow author as well—when I hit major fog on I-75 driving north from Miami. Now, fog isn’t very common in South Florida so I’m not accustomed to driving in it. At first I thought it was a sheet of rain and was relieved when I realized it was fog. Ironic, huh? I’m used to rain but prefer to drive in something I am not familiar with.
The fog wasn’t terrible to drive in but it lasted for miles, some miles heavier than others, but I was always able to see the road right in front of me.
When I looked back through my rearview mirror I saw the sheet of gray that I had left behind. If I looked forward into the part of the road that awaited me, I saw another gray sheet. I was grateful for having the road clear enough for me to see a few yards ahead. Then it would get really heavy, likely relaying the message to pay attention to what the fog represented.
Finally it clicked just as I was stretching my neck like a giraffe to look ahead over the streak of humidity on my windshield to see just how bad the fog was up ahead. I just got it. I looked immediately in front of me where my car was, then through the rearview mirror. My mind was catching up slowly, testing me like our minds tend to do.
Then, in the silence of my car, I chuckled. I literally laughed out loud and told the universe, “touché, universe, touché.” The universe knows what we need and when we need it. As I was driving, my mind was relaxed and focused on the present, but I had been going through some rough days anxious about the future. The fog was there to remind me that the past is blurry and finished with, and the future is still not clear since we haven’t arrived to it yet. The present moment is the one that is transparent because it is where we are living. Our actions in the present moment mold our path for the future, releasing the past as it happens and continuing to move forward with an open mind and heart.
I thanked the fog for that reminder. Many times, most times for me, we are so obsessed with what will happen that we miss what is happening right now. Or we obsess with how to change the past when the only thing we can do is learn from it and continue to more forward, taking each lesson with us to help us grow.
I definitely needed that lesson during that week, so I made a pact with myself to release the stress and worry and just have fun in the present, as I trust the universe to work its magic. And what a mighty magic wand the universe owns when we trust it and allow our purpose to expand. Everything will work out the way it is meant to for all of our highest good, and when we trust and release the negativity that can sneak in, the universe conspires to helps us reach those desires.
Before this experience, I was aware that I needed to release the anxiety of the future and be present in the now, but that’s easier said than done, right? It took nature to interfere as something that I am not familiar with, something that would have really caught my attention, for me to learn this lesson. Then I thought to myself after I realized what was happening, Watch how the fog clears up now that you’ve learned your lesson. A couple of miles later the sun shone on my car and the view was clear.
It is amazing how we coexist in the world—humans, nature, animals—to create a balance and learn from each other. I want to share three practices that can help release anxiety and be mindful because we may not always have the fog right in our faces to open our eyes.
Tools for mindful living:
- Before getting out of bed in the morning, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Inhale and exhale slowly and steady, clearing your mind. You can repeat an affirmation for the day. An example, I am present, body and soul, in this moment. If you are struggling on releasing a worry or stress, you can repeat, I release what no longer serves me and accept what is, moving forward with an open heart.
- Go for a walk and be aware of your surroundings. Focus on the colors of the leaves, the flowers, the noises around you. Is there a dog barking or the wind blowing? Leave your electronics at home or in your car, and be one with your surroundings. A color walk is also wonderful. Choose a color in your mind, preferably not a common one in your area, and as you walk, focus on that color around you. These are different ways to disconnect from the chaotic world and come back to center.
- Do something you love. Whether it is painting, writing, exercise or cooking. Feed your soul with something that fulfills you and focus on that. Be mindful of the words you are writing or the vegetables you are chopping, the brush strokes, the movement of your hands or fingers across an instrument. When you do things that are true to you, you release negativity and open your mind to positive thinking. You create feel-good moments.