Take the next step
When life seems daunting, focus on what’s immediately ahead instead of ruminating on the distant future, says Megha Bajaj
Recently, I found myself feeling more physically fragile than ever before. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t feel. I couldn’t breathe. It felt like something as natural as breathing was the most difficult task, and for hours on end, all I could do was focus on the next breath. And then the next one. I wasn’t sure when my entire plight would end or how many days it would be till I would be back to myself. Evenings, especially, looked very tough—and bleak. I wondered how I would make it through.
That’s when I realised that when we find ourselves in a strange situation and find ourselves floundering, the best thing to do is not shuttle into the future and keep wondering what would happen. The mind does sometimes tend to imagine the worst and, in the process, the present looks even more daunting.
When we find ourselves in a very challenging situation, the best thing to do is to focus on the next breath. On the next action. Do what you can in that moment. And then the next. And then the next. No matter how dark the tunnel is, when you keep walking, eventually you find your way out.
A lot of people continue going through a struggle because they stop in the darkness, believing it is the end. Or they keep trying to focus on a future which looks very ambiguous. Instead, I have found, taking that next step that you can see helps tremendously. While the entire road is foggy, the next step isn’t, and as you take it, you feel the confidence, “Yes, I can...” As you keep taking step after step, you realise your confidence, your energy, your sense of feeling empowered grows, and, suddenly, the next step isn’t a small, wobbly one. And before you know it, you break into a sprint.
That’s exactly how my road to recovery was. I kept doing what I could. Focussing on my breathing. The right diet. Getting plenty of rest. Walking when I could. And before I knew it, I was out of it and feeling fresher, fitter, and more energetic than ever before. I couldn’t believe that only a few days ago, even getting up seemed tough.
Tough situations have a lesson to teach us. And the most important one this little bout taught me is to be patient. To trust the process. And the next step. To not get ahead of myself but, rather, stay deeply rooted in what I can and must do.
I really believe no challenge is insurmountable if we keep doing what we must. Worry is a big action paralyzer, and it clouds the thinking. It chokes reasoning and makes you think of a hundred possibilities, way worse than the one you are going to face. And the perfect antidote to worrying is being rooted in the present and focussing on the next step. The mind needs something to busy itself with, and busying it with a process helps it to keep gaining confidence.
For me it was health. For you, it could be career. Or for him a relationship. I believe the same laws of life apply—you just must take that next step. And when you do, you are shown the next, and then the next. Looking back, you suddenly realise you have walked such a long way, and the very road that looked daunting and impossible has already been crossed.
What is your next step?
Take it, believing it will bring you closer to where you wish to be, and you will be surprised that home, after all, isn’t a place too far away at all. Wishing you a journey filled with sunshine and bougainvillea.
Megha Bajaj is a bestselling author, film script writer and poet.
An ardent seeker at heart, she also runs her online writing and healing workshops called WoW. You can read more about her on www.MeghaBajajWoW.com.
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