No One Has Any Idea What Will Happen Next!

Via Ed & Deb Shapiro
on Jan 7, 2011
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A new year has a very special effect: it makes us feel like we have the chance to start over, to do things right this time, to make amends, to become the person we really know we can be. Hence all those resolutions made with such determination.

So why does it take a new year to make us feel like this? Why is it that for 364 days we live with regret, doubt, holding on to what we did wrong and wishing we hadn’t, or dreaming of a future that can never happen because it doesn’t exist?

No matter how hard we would like to, there is one thing we can never do and that is change the past. We can weep, beat our fists against the wall, eat bars of chocolate to assuage the guilt, but it won’t make the slightest bit of difference and won’t make us feel any better. The past is gone, over, no more. done.

Continuing to wish that our actions or words had been different means we are really not here in the present but are living in what-could-have-been or what-might-have-been or if-only. If the past is too painful or even too boring then we switch over to the future, that place of infinite potential that we want to believe could be real, like wishful thinking or a daydream. We live in what-might-be or what-could-be.

Of course we can learn from the past. Often the most painful experience turns out to be our best teacher; we can even feel gratitude for the experience as it taught us so much. Memories can be like comfortable old shoes we are reluctant to part with. We can certainly put them on now and then, but we don’t have to hang out in them on a permanent basis.

Instead we can change our attitude toward what happened. Fully accepting that the past is irreversible and the future does not exist means we can actually be in the present moment. Finally we can just be here and now. Wow! What a relief! What a revelation!

Today is a very special day. It has never happened before and it will never happen again. And we have no idea what will come next. No one can know it.

So what a great time just to be here now! The perfect day to let the past rest where it is and let the future take care of itself. As is every day. To experience just this moment, to pay attention to the colors, sounds, smells and sensations. To pay attention to your feelings, to other people’s feelings, and to make this day, this week, this month, and this year, one of beauty and tenderness.



About Ed & Deb Shapiro

Ed & Deb Shapiro are the authors of new The Unexpected Power of Mindfulness & Meditation. Deb is the author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind, now in 19 languages. They have six meditation CDs. See more at their website.


2 Responses to “No One Has Any Idea What Will Happen Next!”

  1. Yes, I have to agree with that, changing our attitude to what happens is a true miracle, one we tend to overlook, but a real solid miracle!

  2. Lynn Hasselberger says:

    Recently had a convo with my almost 10-year old as we watched the sunrise (he was up early because the tooth fairy came and he couldn't wait to see what present was left under his pillow). This is a new day, a new sunset (which was not very spectacular that day), gravity is still here, we're still here and there will never be a day like this again. Nor has there been a day like this before. He argued, pointing out his daily rituals. Always the same.

    I typically use that early morning time before my son awakes to center myself and catch up on work. Sometimes I become irritable when he decides to wake up early and disturb this quiet time. I'm grateful that I chose to be present. Those moments spent talking and hanging out in the dark while the sun rose–being present–are priceless.

    Always look forward to your posts! Thank you 🙂