Yesterday and Tomorrow have a Birth Child: It’s called "Today”.
L.T. Force, Ph.D.
About five years ago, I attended a week-long Conference on Cape Cod. The theme of the training was: “Mindfulness as a Therapeutic Intervention”. The experience was good - and I feel that I left with some new content-knowledge and tools. I clearly remember the presenter saying: “your role as a therapist is help your clients: stay in the moment....stay in the now”. He continued by saying: “ clients that primarily focus on the past....it’s all about depression and clients that primarily focus on the future....it’s all about anxiety. Your job as a therapist is to help clients stay in the moment...stay in the now”. I remember that statement and I often repeat it to my students, to my own clients....and as important....I repeat it to myself.
Providing ‘presence’ for others as a Psychotherapist is truly a gift. I practice a solution-focused....’here and now’ short-term therapeutic approach. As I tell my clients - in the first session - what I call the: “landscape session” (where you get a sense of ‘who is who” and what the concerns are that motivated them to seek psychotherapy)....”I am not your hero....I can’t fix you...and the reason I can’t fix you....is because you are not broken”. I also tell them: “ the best therapist you can find....is one you forget....and the reason you forget them is because you are back into the rhythm of your own life”.
As I started to think about this writing: Yesterday and Tomorrow have a Birth Child: It’s called "Today” - I was taken back to that Cape Cod training on: “Mindfulness as a Therapeutic Intervention”. In addition, I was flooded by themes of the voices and narratives of my clients - where the overarching themes are about: “concerns of things they did in the past....concerns of things they did not do in past....or concerns about what the landscape of the future looks likes....and how they will handle or react to it... or how they won’t handle or react to it”.
The “voices” of my clients resonated and paralleled findings from a research project that I was involved in about 15 years ago. In that research venue - we collected interviews, stories, first-hand accounts, reflections and life-stories of about 450 individuals in midlife. The focus of the project was to capture their perceptions on the topic of: “regret”. One startling result - that stood out from that project - across the 450 narratives - was very interesting, i.e., regret was almost perceived as being: “magical” The common themes were - individuals held the perception: “if they didn’t do - something they did....or they did do something that they didn’t do - the events and their life-path would have worked out better than it did”. The “magical thinking” - is that you really don’t know how life decisions would have worked out - but individuals believe - that there would have always been a better outcome.
So, in reference to the theme of this writing - imagine this scenario: Yesterday and Tomorrow have a Birth Child: It’s called "Today”. This child needs care, attention and love....and being distracted by feelings of depression of the past....or feelings of anxiety about the future....is not only a: “magical distraction” but it is a disservice to the needs of that new birth called: “Today”. You wouldn’t turn your attention from the needs of a new born child - why would you turn your attention from the needs of the greatest gift given to you - the gift of “Today”.
This reading is over. The focus now is attending to the needs and wants of this precious gift called: ”Today”....it’s calling for your attention....it needs your care.... it needs your love....and as important....you need it. Now the question: “How do you act like “Today” matters?” Because “Today” does matter....you need to act like it does....we all do....