"At first it seemed impossible to notice my thoughts--they came and went too quickly and I was not attentive enough to slow them down and assess them while they were happening. Instead I watched my hands. My hands were the servants of my thoughts. They carried out the physical impulses going on unseen in my mind. I spent several days trying to be present and just witness what my hands had been doing. They had been stealing. They had been writing about all the bad things that had happened to me and that would surely happen again. They were hypervigilant in predicting the next bad thing that might happen, so that I might somehow avoid it. They obsessed over when I would become sick again. They dwelled on all the belongings I did not have. They were not engaging in the opportunity that lies in the present moment. If I couldn't change my thoughts, perhaps I could reverse engineer the process. If I changed what my hands did, perhaps that would force me to change my thoughts. I began to notice and write down how many doors I had opened for others in a day. Then I tried to open more doors than I had the previous day. I found myself holding a door open for strangers envy when I wasn't going into the building. I began to notice and look for others who needed help. Helping others helps you get over yourself and your own problems. Instead of staring down at my feet I would look someone in the eye. This would force myself to remember we were all connected and help me let go of the illusion that I was alone. These were all practices in being present.
"Whether it's a trick or not, I managed to gain some power over my sense of perception--I could experience myself feeling in control of my life, feeling capable, not being a victim. And the more empowered I felt, the more empowered I allowed myself to be. And the more my confidence bubble grew... to allowing myself to look at the blue water and say, I'm okay, right now this very second. I don't know what will happen an hour from now, but in this moment I'm okay and have all I need. I learned that if I could get through second by second, if I could allow myself to experience that right here, right now, and then just sink into that moment and expand it, and let myself feel that, let the energy of that move through my body, let my tension and my tightness melt away, I actually felt some joy. Real joy."