Ten Seconds

"We experience inner peace when we let go of our attachments to the painful past and fearful future and learn to live in the present" Jerry Jampolsky, Teach Only Love

An argument is the perfect opportunity to practice living in the present. Most of the time, arguments occur because there is a focus on old wounds and unforgiving thoughts about the past. These thoughts can be a heavy burden that block the present moment and any joy is hidden behind this wall of judgment.

Keeping old, painful memories is exhausting and uses a lot of brain power that could be used in a better way. It is much more energizing to be happy and joyful, but the truth is that brains are a Velcro for negativity, and it takes effort to change that. The good news is that we have the power to do that.

Victor Frankl, both a concentration camp survivor and world respected author and psychotherapist tells us in his book, Man's Search for Meaning that the one characteristic that helped people survive in the concentration camps was knowing they had the power to choose how they responded in their circumstances in life. He says," The greatest freedom, is the ability to determine one's own attitude." Misery is truly a choice that causes stress and weakens brain power. It is surprising how quickly thoughts can shift in a moment of awareness; sometimes it only takes seconds.

I had a moment of awareness followed by a powerful shift of thought during a required pre-marital counseling session with the minister that was going to marry my future husband and me. Both of us had been through the pain of divorce and had six children between us that complicated our relationship at times. Needless to say, there were painful memories to drag up from the past to fight about. Sometimes, we both wondered if we would ever go through with the marriage.

We sat down on a sofa together, and the minister sat across from us in a chair. He possessed the most contagious, joyful smile on his face; one of the characteristics that helped me to choose him to officiate our wedding. It was difficult not to smile back at him because he was so pleasant and caring. Unfortunately, that day we had been arguing before the meeting, and I was ready to continue the disagreement in front of this pleasant man. After our greetings, I immediately began complaining but he very kindly interrupted me and said,

"I would like to hear what you love about each other."

I was so surprised, I stopped talking; it was clear that my focus on the past arguments was not important to him. As Jerry says, "I had superimposed the past upon the present and tainted the experience with old, unhappy lessons." When I stopped talking, those few seconds were all that were necessary for me to begin to shift my fear of the past and future to love in the present moment.

Slowly, our story unfolded in front of us; he helped us focus on the truth that brought us together… which was love. Later, I could not remember why I had been so upset.

Divorce can cause fear of future happiness when I see myself as damaged by the past. I have realized I the importance of letting go of painful memories and reframing them with thoughts of acceptance and love for myself.

We have been married 10 years now and through practicing letting go of the past and gratitude for the present, I see the love that is always there.

Fred Rogers was a minister, author, songwriter and creator of a wonderful children's television show called, "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood." In his acceptance speech at the Emmy's for the Lifetime Achievement Award, he asked the audience that was full of television celebrities to think of someone in their lives for ten seconds that supported them and helped them to achieve their success. He actually stopped talking and looked at his watch to time them! Soon, there was a hush in the audience, and then tears in the eyes of those beautiful people who took seconds to feel the love in their lives.

During a recent concert of Paul McCartney, he came out on stage, stopped for a few minutes and looked at the thousands of screaming fans that included me who came to see him and said, "I just need a moment to take it all in."

All you need is Love… yeah, yeah, yeah!

(For only 10 seconds)