“With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
How often can you relate to at least one of these?
Drive while talking on a cell phone, or think about work problems, or the errands you have to do?
How often do you eat your food without thinking about what you’re eating? How often do you find yourself drifting off while doing other things?
Worrying about something you messed up on or about something that’s coming up?
Most of us are elsewhere, much of the time, rather than in the here and now. There are three things we tend to think about:
- The Past. Something happens and we rehash the things we messed up. Being embarrassed about something we did. Wishing we could have something back that is gone. Living in memories of good times past or being angry about things that happened to us.
- The Future. Worrying about things we need to do later. Our endless ‘To Do’ lists. Worrying about what might happen. Being anxious that things might go wrong, or that we might fail. Hoping for something wonderful. Dreaming of great things to come.
- The Present. What is happening right now, at this moment. What are YOU doing now.
We cannot stop ourselves from thinking about the past or the future, it’s a natural part of being human. However, with practice, we can focus on being more present than we already do. In today’s world most of us are distracted right? Do you ever just stop and be still? When you allow yourself to be present in any given moment, you have the potential to experience deep inner peace. You have the power to experience an abundance of joy, love and total inner peace and fulfillment. We must learn to accept this universal truth, now is all there ever is. Nothing else exists, besides from this present moment. The past has gone, the future has not arrived. Nothing stands still, everything is constantly changing.
But why should we do that? What’s wrong with focusing on the past or future? Nothing’s wrong with it. However, there’s nothing we can do about things that have already happened, and worrying about them doesn’t usually do us much good. If you are constantly thinking about the past, you will continue to experience the same scenarios over and over again. You will continue to recreate situations similar to what you created in the past when you keep your thoughts focused on the past. So instead get clear what happened, learn from it, and move on.
We also can’t control the future either. It’s impossible. We can do things that will change the future, but they might change the future in ways we cannot anticipate. Or they might not change things at all. And the only thing we can do about the future is do something … now. In the present. Most importantly is this…You are missing what is happening right now in the present moment, every second that you spend in your head thinking about possible futures or the past. Most people miss the majority of their life, because they were not present in many of the moments in their life.
Tips for being more Present in your life
- Pay Attention – For example, when you have idle time at a stop light or in a line at the grocery, pay attention, look around you. Instead of letting your mind run ahead of you thinking about the route to your destination or the list of errands that have to be completed, or playing with your cellphone take a moment to pay attention. You only have to do it for a few moments, but it’s a good start.
- When you eat, just eat. The best way to think about being present is this: do just one thing at a time. When you are eating, don’t read or think about something else. Just eat. Pay attention to what you’re eating. Really experience it — the taste, the texture. Do it slowly. Same thing with anything else: washing dishes, taking a shower, driving, working, playing. Don’t do multiple things at once — just do what you’re doing now, and nothing else.
- Be aware. Another important step is to become more aware of your thoughts. You will inevitably think about the past and future. That’s OK. Just become aware of those thoughts. Awareness will bring change.
- Breathe – When you’re ready to go beyond moments and minutes, try paying attention to your breath before you drift off to sleep. Before you drift off to sleep, spend 15 minutes paying attention to the rise and fall of your belly. If you feel yourself drifting off to sleep, or notice that your mind has wondered, gently bring it back to your belly. You could even put a book on it and watch it rise and fall.
- Meditate – It is the practice of sitting still for about 15-30 minutes in silence. Start slowly and just focus on your breathing for 5minutes. Let your thoughts go. When you realize that your mind is chasing your thoughts, bring it back to your breath. Just be still. Nothing to do or think about, just is.
- There is no failure. You will mess up, but that’s OK, because it is impossible to not mess up. We are human, we are not perfect. The only thing that matters is that you practice, and over time, if you keep doing it, you will learn to focus on the present more often than you do now. You cannot fail, even if you stop doing it for awhile. Each step is a success. Celebrate every little success.
- Keep practicing. When you get frustrated, just take a deep breath and start again.
To truly live abundantly in the present moment it is necessary to be grateful and appreciate every moment. In every single moment of your life focus on feeling gratitude. Be present, put all of your focus on the sights, smells and feelings that are right in front of you and within you at every moment. Do not be too hard on yourself, it takes PRACTICE.
You will notice your whole world change, when you continue to practice being present on a consistent basis. When you are present the whole world around you becomes more alive. Experience every moment of your life with a feeling of gratitude. Say in your head or out loud, “Thank you for this moment”, many times throughout your day. “Now is all there is, I am this moment”, is a wonderful quote from the movie ‘The Peaceful Warrior’. You are this moment, now, enjoy it and live fully and graciously. Remember, now is called the present, because it is a gift. Be grateful for your present.
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If you are looking to make a change but not sure where to start or clear on what it looks like I have a few openings in my business for taking on new clients. If you are committed to change what is not working and ready to invest the time and resources in yourself there is no better time to start. Contact me & book your complimentary call. If you want more information check out my book Forgiveness: How to let go when it still hurts. Included in the book are worksheets to help you through the process.