Present Moment 2: How are you feeling?

by Underdue Support on October 5, 2011

I am being asked this question a lot lately. Some might say it goes with the territory, as my work involves talking about and understanding feelings. But it’s important to look closer at both the question and my answer.

We all have situations and experiences that challenge us throughout our lives. When we face illness in our family, problems with a spouse or child, or difficulties on our job. The most common question we will get asked during those times of challenge is some version of “How are you feeling?” It may come in the form of the simple “How are you?” or it can be more direct, such as “Are you OK?” The main point of the question is to find out how you feel.

Some folks, including children or other family members who really want to know how you feel are very reluctant to ask. So they watch you. They pay special attention to your body language or they listen to how you go off the handle about really, really stupid stuff when you didn’t used to do that. And they then assume they know how you feel.

You are probably asking yourself when I plan to get around talking about staying in the present. Well, this is it.

If we were interested in stopping and being in the moment, we would answer the question. Instead, we keep moving, or distract the conversation to something else, or offer the single most common answer to the question – “Fine.”

What would happen if we sat down and really answered the question? I have been very guilty of using the “Fine” response. In fact, I probably have more ways I can say that word than most of the people I know. And it’s never an answer. It’s an excuse not to be in the present. It lets me put off looking at my feelings, avoid sharing with a friend or family member who cares about me, or actually letting myself feel.

My mother was diagnosed some years ago with a terminal lung disease. She has managed very well for the last several years, but we are now beginning to see a deterioration. I am amazingly impressed with my Mother’s style as she faces the last stage of her life with directness, dignity and humor. After watching her for a few weeks now, I have decided that I can no longer just answer “Fine.”

Part of a willingness to be in the moment is to recognize that those moments are sometimes painful, but when you allow yourself to experience them the reward is beyond measure. I am embracing my sadness as I spend these precious present moments with my Mom. I wouldn’t trade the present for anything.

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