I’ve calculated that if I’m up 17 hours each day, that’s 1,020 minutes a day I must live in the moment. That’s a lot of time to be fully present with what I’m doing. For me, it doesn’t seem feasible to live like this, so I need a better understanding of what it means to be fully present and how to go about accomplishing that state of mind.
Here is what I’ve learned by doing some basic research on living in the moment. To be conscious and aware of what you are doing. It’s important to keep the past and the future in those moments and not part of the present moment. It doesn’t mean that we don’t think about our history as our lives today include our experiences from the past. We can honor the lessons, though need to let go of the regrets, guilt or any negative experiences that sit in our present and take away our ability to celebrate who we are today. We also plan for the future, though we need to reframe spending time in the present worrying about the future.
Awareness means listening to our thoughts and words as we express them in our conversations about our past and our future. If we express negative feelings in either direction – past or future – we are not present at the moment. If we share the positive aspect of our past experiences, what we learned from them, and what we are looking forward to in the future, we create well-being in our lives.
When we focus on the present moment, on what is happening right now, we have a better chance of letting go of troublesome feelings that take a lot of our energy. Emotions like sadness, worry, anxiety can plague us when we don’t live in the moment.
We can’t possibly be fully present every minute of the day, so how do we embrace the concept “living in the moment” so we can enhance our well-being and move forward in our lives?
We start by being mindful some parts of the day. Sit with what you are doing and be fully present with it for how long as you can. Do one thing at a time and do it by being present.
When I’m writing, I can easily get distracted because I’m not sure what I want to write. I set the timer for 30 minutes and write, no editing, no head thoughts that my writing is not good, and instead sit with my words for the 30 minutes. I’m in the moment, and it feels great to be fully present.
A possible solution to building your “awareness” muscles is to set a timer for every hour, or whatever period feels right to you, and stop and become aware of what you are doing, feeling or thinking about at the moment. You can do it for a minute or 5 minutes, and that is up to you. The purpose is to become aware of where you are in the moment.
Give yourself a gift of thoroughly enjoying what you are doing. I don’t always do this, but if I have to do something, even if I don’t necessarily want to do it, I remind myself “if you have to do it, then have fun.” For me, writing includes pressure, negative thoughts, and love when I’m busy researching and creating my thoughts on paper. The more I write, the more I can sit with all the feelings and write about them.
It’s vital for me to change the belief that I shouldn’t feel negative thoughts but rather see them as thoughts with limited power.
I can’t stop my thoughts, and I can decide how I want to react to them. Staying in the moment provides me with a different perspective about what I’m thinking.
You probably heard “going with the flow.” Don’t you hate it when someone says, “just go with the flow.” If you could, you would easily let go of the tension. You can, though, create an awareness practice that provides you with the ability to let go.
Go with the flow is when you are present with what you are doing. Time passes whether you are worrying or fully present. Worrying goes against flow because you are stymied and can’t move forward. Staying present and listening to what is happening now, allows you to go with the flow. It’s not necessarily easy to go with the flow; you can’t just think it, yet if you practice being present say for 5 minutes, then you will start building your “flow muscles.”
If you are facing a challenge, be open and move towards it. Procrastination occurs when you try to hide from it. For example, maybe organizing all those papers you have in your home is a challenge for you. For many people, this is a common issue. What if you move towards the paper set the timer for 15 minutes and stay fully present and decide for each piece you touch. You have three separate piles: 1) Act on it, 2) file it or 3) shred it. When you have your three piles after the 15 minutes, you can set another 15 minutes shredding the old papers. Then another 15 minutes to file the documents and another 15 minutes to act on documents that require your attention. In one hour, you have stayed fully present on what needs to be done. You didn’t resist the moment; instead, you worked within it.
There are many tools we can use to stay present at the moment. Though here is a summary of simple ways you can start changing how you live your daily life:
- Do one thing at a time and be present with what you are doing. Shut down the distractions. Technology is excellent though it also provides us with too many distractions.
- Everyone has a daily morning routine. Why not see if you can slow down enough to become aware of what you are doing. For example, “now I’m making the coffee.”
- When the past and the future take hold of you by creating internal distress, as it does for many people, find a word or sentence to help you get above your present feelings. For example, “these are just thoughts or feelings.” The words can help you to diffuse the intensity of the thought or feeling. You may need to say it several times and be patient with yourself as you are just beginning to build your “awareness muscles.”
How do you stay present now? What has helped you to increase your awareness of the moment? When we share with others, we provide them with more opportunities to find a good solution that works for them.
Collaboration is a beautiful way we can all learn together.
Women’s Group Topics
Being mindful is a current discussion among many people. In this fast-paced life we all seem to be living, mindfulness seems to get lost in all of the other demands of the day. Discuss with each other how you can each start small adding mindfulness into your life. Maybe you don’t feel it is required and this is a great discussion point as well.
“To fully enjoy the ‘richness’ of our lives, we need to stop long enough to visit with ourselves.”
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