Most of us have heard the credo from Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-Step programs ‘One day at a time’. But did you know that this deep practice can be applied to any part of your life – across everything from healing deep soul sounds to attaining our goals? ‘One day at a time’ is a concept filled with deep spiritual power and wisdom and doesn’t just apply to people in recovery. Why? Because for many of us when we are faced with reaching a goal or an emotional challenge, it can appear overwhelming.
We may want to do anything from losing weight to setting up our own business – or we may be going through the soul-searing process of grief over the loss of a loved one and not see the end to it. Our goals can feel hopelessly out of reach when we look at them in their entirety. We may have a lot of weight to lose before we reach a stage where we feel vibrant and healthy again.
We may have to upskill or save money before we can start that business and if we’re locked in grief, being happy may have become a faint memory we feel we can never recapture. Looked at like this, it’s all too easy to feel our goals are permanently out-of-reach and that we may as well give up or that we are trapped in an unhappy cycle forever.
By taking the position of ‘One day at a time’ we begin to focus on the present – not on the far distant future that is out of reach. We can all manage to navigate our day through today and perhaps do one tiny little thing during that day that takes us one step closer towards that goal. It may be as simple as just telling ourselves that just for today we will eat healthy and make the time to do some kind of gentle exercise – such as walking in the park. Or, we may write just a couple of paragraphs of that business plan. If we’re mourning, it can be as simple as giving ourselves permission to feel whatever we are feeling today. We’re not thinking about tomorrow and what we will feel, think or do then. We’re certainly not thinking about the day after that, next week, next month or next year! It’s just today.
On a mundane level, this process actually mirrors ‘chunking down’ – a system used by many businesses and entrepreneurs with large projects to manage. They know that breaking down the whole into do-able pieces is the only way to get it done. On a spiritual level however, this allows whatever we are doing to become a daily practice and puts us in touch with what Eckhart Tolle calls ‘The Power of Now’ in his best-selling book.
If we’re working through loss in our lives, illness or emotional trauma, living our lives in 24 hour increments keeps our minds focussed in the present, allows us to reach out and receive help and also to find love and joy where we can. One day at a time makes us focus on the here and now and the love and joy and opportunity it contains. That’s why it’s called the Present. It IS a present!
If you are in recovery then you know that One day at a time keeps you focussed and it is this focus that it the key to it’s power. So – whatever it is you want to achieve – take it just one day at a time. Today is your gift – of the present. Live it with gratitude and love.
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