Hello! Are you home in there? Or are you in another time frame, such as the past or future?
Regrets: the Monday-morning-quarterback of your mind. Some people invest substantial energy reviewing past failures, and how they could or should have been replayed, that they have difficulty operating in the present state. Others spend inordinate amounts of time daydreaming about the future that they fail to generate the current behaviors necessary to make those dreams a reality. Walter Mitty, a literary character spent so much time, secretly creating a world in which he thought he belonged that life passed him by. Anybody remember what happened to him? Defeated in life; proud in his daydreams.
Individuals who fail to derive satisfaction in today's world, often experience life as dull and unrewarding. They rarely allow present-state time for sharing intimate relationships, exploring their surroundings, performing new projects, or creating interesting associations. They are not in touch with their senses-- their perspective about being in tune with their feelings. Both feet are firmly planted in mid-air! As we get older, it becomes increasingly more important to gather information about who we are and where we are going. This enables us to plan goals from which we generate objectives, and learn to control the course of our lives; rather than drifting with the currents. This seems simple enough. Infants explore their world fearlessly and joyfully, in the present state. Children learn and grow as they remain open to new experiences, assimilating incoming information with beliefs and feelings they have formed.
A person's reinforcement history-- replete with instances of success and failure; bliss and strife, prosperity and misfortune-- may lend itself to the kind of censorship of experience that discourages the growth and development of flexibility in behavior; the ability to generate useful choices that help establish a rewarding niche in life. In such instances, people flee the present state to sulk and lick the wounds of the past, or bask in the comfort of would-be tomorrows. However, this is rarely ever satisfying and frequently serves to only prolong one's failure to grow from life's experiences. If you are someone who seems to be standing still watching the world go by because experiencing the present seems too painful or otherwise difficult, perhaps you need to try on a new perception.
Think of any experience, imagined or real, that you would consider exceptionally pleasant and rewarding in some way. It may be something that occurred over a long period of time, or it may have taken a second; it can be recent, in the dist- ant past, or it may never have occurred at all! Pay attention to how you represent it-- picture, sound, feeling or any combination. Examine it structurally. For example, if a picture, do you see color or black and white? Large or small? Moving or still? Locate the position of its occurrence in your visual field (i.e., is it out in front of you? Left? Right?) Similarly, notice any sound and feeling characteristics.
Now look into yourself as you confront the issues of your life in the present. This is the difficult territory from which you fled. Pay attention to your senses. How do you represent the way you deal with your world? The object is to find new responses that satisfy your needs in the present, rather than reacting fearfully and fleeing to another time zone! Try to access both experiences-- the pleasant and present simultaneously. This will require some patience unless you are used to going around having two experiences at once. If you find this too difficult, try something else...the value of having choices! Sequence these two experiences so they follow each other. The point is to access them in such a way that allows for direct comparison of their structures. Try making the present one structurally like the pleasant one. Match picture, sound and feeling qualities so they are both approximately like the pleasant experience. Run your life now rather than yesterday or tomorrow. And soon you may be telling yourself, "I did it my way..."