What’s Next?

Have you ever experienced (or witnessed) any of these scenarios?:

  • You just got married, and people immediately start asking you when you’re going to have kids.
  • You just experienced a loss or setback, and people immediately start trying to “help” you move forward.
  • You just finished a major project, and people immediately start asking you what you’re going to do next.
  • You watch a sports team celebrate winning the championship, and a reporter asks about their plans for next season.

In these situations (or any similar ones), the questions all boil down to the same essence: What’s next?

What’s next on the agenda? What are you going to do next? Where are you going to go next? Who are you going to date next? How are you going to get out of the “hole” you’re in or build on the success you’ve experienced? What’s the next step?

And all of these questions boil down to this: How soon can you escape the present moment?

The people asking these questions (which can also come from that nagging voice in the back of your own mind) are probably very well intentioned (or, at the very least, innocuously curious). Still, I find this line of questioning to be extremely annoying. It just makes me want to shout: “DUDE! This just happened! Would you let me be where I am for five minutes? Can’t I just celebrate, grieve, or experience whatever I’m experiencing right now?”

It makes me feel like a restaurant’s staff is trying to rush me away from my table and out the door while I’m still in the middle of my entrée.

Aside from simply being annoying, it feels like the embodiment of a modern (or perhaps age-old) tendency to want to escape the here-and-now, whether that reality is painful or pleasant. It’s a mindset that never lets you be where you are, cherish the moment, feel your feelings, and fully experience your life. It’s a mindset that says, “Let’s get out of here…fast!”

But the irony is that this what’s-next approach doesn’t necessarily hasten the next step; it simply robs you of the one you’re on. You don’t need to rush things — life will flow, and you will naturally arrive at the next step simply by living. A new idea will come to you, you’ll feel inspired to take action, you’ll figure your way out of a problem, or time will simply heal your wounds and allow you to move on.

Now, I’m all in favor of planning, dreaming, and even preparing for the future — but not at the expense of experiencing the present. Not to the exclusion of living your life in the here and now. And certainly not to the extent that it robs you of all present-time joy, sorrow, or whatever else you’re experiencing.

Sure, by always looking a mile (or more) down the road, you may feel like you’re staying a step ahead — and, in a way, you are — but you’re missing the step you’re on. By focusing on the future, you may feel like you’re preparing yourself for what’s next, but you miss the only place where life truly happens: NOW.

And, besides, the imagined future that you’re “preparing” for may never come to pass — or it may arrive in a very different form than you’d imagined. Or, even if it looks more or less the way you thought it would, when it does arrive, you might be too focused on what’s next after that to really experience it.

On the other hand, when you allow yourself to fully experience the here-and-now — feeling it all without trying to run away — you’ll naturally allow yourself to take in all the joy, learn all the lessons, heal all the hurt, and be present for your own life. And when the time comes and “what’s next” becomes “what’s now,” you’ll be good and ready.

And you’ll really be there.

P.S. There’s still space available in our upcoming collaborative book, Goodness Abounds: 365 True Stories of Loving Kindness, but spots are filling up — so if you’d like to be part of this book (which will be the last one in our bestselling 365 Book Series until at least 2019), this is the perfect time to join us. Please click here or visit www.goodnessabounds.com to learn more.

Goodness Abounds

My (Belated) Words of the Year

For the past few years, I’ve come up with a word of the year — something that encapsulated my desired focus and aspirations for the coming 12 months. I fully expected to do the same this year as well, but when January 1 rolled around, I just wasn’t feeling it.

No single word was calling to me — and the words that did keep springing into my mind (such as anger, bewilderment, disgust, and disillusionment) were hardly ones that I wanted to serve as my theme for the year! But trying to force myself to “fake it till I make it” […] Continue Reading…

And for my next act…

Yesterday, Jodi and I (along with over 250 contributing authors) launched our new book, 365 Life Shifts: Pivotal Moments That Changed Everything. I am so grateful to everyone who contributed to this collection (the third volume of the 365 Book Series), the hundreds of people who promoted it (which helped it become an instant #1 bestseller on Amazon), and the thousands of people who will read it and open their hearts to these true stories of transformation.

As I reflect on this project, I realize that it came about at a perfect time for me, although it didn’t always feel this […] Continue Reading…

The Upside of Anger

I used to think that anger was always bad. Growing up, I got the message that it was an unacceptable emotion. And as a young adult, I thought that it was somehow “unspiritual.” More recently, however, my perspective has changed.

I still don’t think that anger is a fun emotion to feel or a fun “place” to hang out (and I’m extremely wary of those who make it their home), but I’ve come to see that there is an upside of anger.

As I now see it, here are three of anger’s biggest benefits:

1. It allows you to practice self-acceptance and […] Continue Reading…

Hold the Light

For most people, this is one of the most festive times of the year. And, for most of my life, the same has been true for me.

I generally love the holiday season, and last year I had one of the best Christmases of my life, as Jodi and I made our first trip to the beach in our new hometown.

But this year, if I’m being honest, I’m not really feeling the holiday spirit. Between the election, recent world events, and the general tone of public discourse, I’ve often found my recent moods swinging between blah and yuck.

Fortunately, though, I know […] Continue Reading…

Be the Change

During this time of deep personal (and, to a large extent, national and international) grief, I find myself looking for rays of light and glimmers of hope.

As I mentioned in my two previous posts, I often draw inspiration from spiritual quotes and the Abraham-Hicks teachings; so now I’m combining these by taking an Abe approach to one of my favorite quotes:
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”*
– Mahatma Gandhi
I’ve been thinking about these words in relation to the Abraham teaching of contrast — namely, that when something clearly shows you what you don’t want, it helps you […] Continue Reading…

My Top 7 (Non-Abe) Inspirational Quotes

What’s your favorite inspirational quote? Do you have one (or several) that you find yourself thinking about again and again?

Although I’ve been inspired by countless quotes, there are about a dozen that I regularly reflect on — words that I find myself coming back to again and again for guidance, solace, and inspiration. In my previous post, I shared my seven favorites from the Abraham-Hicks teachings. Now, I’d like to share my seven “non-Abe” favorites, along with some thoughts about them.

You may have already seen some of these (perhaps numerous times) making the rounds on Facebook or elsewhere, while others might be new to you; but, in either case, I […] Continue Reading…

My Top 7 Abraham-Hicks Teachings

I love surrounding myself with inspiring words. I’ve spent countless hours reading everything from ancient scriptures to blogs and Facebook posts intended to uplift and enlighten.

While I’m glad to have been exposed to a wide range of teachings, I’ve realized that I could probably live a fairly happy, fulfilling life with just a handful of basic premises, teachings, and quotes.

With this in mind, I recently created a personal “best-of” list of about a dozen such teachings, about half of which came from Abraham-Hicks (who coined the phrase Law of Attraction and teach this concept, which has since been popularized in the movie The Secret […] Continue Reading…

The Mundane Side of Karma

What comes to mind when you hear the word karma?

Do you think of mystical forces such as vibration, energy, or cosmic retribution? Do you think of karma in terms of reincarnation and rebirth? Or maybe (if you share my internal jukebox) you hear an inner medley of John Lennon’s “Instant Karma,” Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon,” and Ratt’s “Round and Round” (featuring the head-banging chorus of “What comes around goes around”).

Whatever words you use (or songs you hear) when describing karma, it’s generally considered a profound, esoteric principle. And yes, I have no doubt that mysterious forces beyond my comprehension are involved in this […] Continue Reading…

Cancel Your Insurance (Mentality)

Insurance is built on an interesting premise: the more you suffer, the more you gain.

If someone leaves a tiny scratch on your car while parallel parking, insurance might cover enough for a paint touch-up…but not a brand-new car. If a doctor accidentally scratches your finger, you probably won’t be able to sue them for as much as if they had transplanted the wrong organ.

In this way, insurance seems very fair. The compensation is (in theory) commensurate with the amount of suffering, loss, or hardship endured. Insurance also provides peace of mind that, if worse comes to worst, you can still hope to […] Continue Reading…