Being Present

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Being present means living in the moment. Being present means enjoying right now instead of replaying past events or role playing possible future scenarios. There is a time for each of these to take place, but when it’s time to be present, it’s good to be able to relax into the moment at hand. It’s a skill worth mastering.

Our ability to be present depends a lot on having good boundaries. Your boundaries should be intentional and unapologetic. Keeping good control and understanding of what you want and need helps you to stay “in the moment” and enjoy more. Having weak or undefined boundaries makes you more likely to be passive or let others define them for you. Taking responsibility for yourself avoids the opportunity for others to take control of us. At the same time, respecting other’s boundaries will demonstrate how you want to be treated.  This means often letting go of our attachment to outcomes and need to control each result. Inner peace comes from letting the outcomes naturally play out in each moment without judgement or attachment. Being present means paying attention to yourself and whether you are trying to alter the moment and outcome instead of just observing and accepting it.

When you add judgment, comparison, or competition to the present moment, you are no longer being present. If you can let go of what you think “should” be happening or what “might have been” then you can more easily let go and enjoy being present. There will be enough time to lick your past wounds later. Trust that you can handle this moment, you deserve to enjoy what’s happening now and you will be capable of juggling whatever is thrown your way next. “Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure” -author unknown 

Do you have a mind that constantly races in every direction? One way to bring yourself into the present is to learn how to quiet your mind and focus on what matters right now. Taking yourself out of the moment and becoming an observer when you begin to feel anxious or fearful may help you to gain insight into whether or not this moment really requires that response. Fully experience this moment until it’s time to move on to the next. Being an observer of yourself may help you learn more about what triggers those moments of fear and anxiety. Knowledge is power. Observe and breathe…

The moments are going to keep happening. Fighting against the moment does not make it go slower. Each moment comes when it is supposed to come. Take a big, deep breath in. Now let it out slowly. You either took the time and felt present enough to enjoy that breath, or you rushed through it to see what was next. Each breath happens, quick or slow is an illusion and a judgement that you put on those moments. Time never speeds up, time never slows down. Even if you fight against the present moment it will still happen and still move at the same speed. Change will happen, change keeps coming. No matter how hard you try, you can only breath in OR out… never both at the same time. Each breath comes when it is time. 

Staying present means realizing that you can only do one thing at a time. Whether it be work, pleasure, obligation or otherwise, multi-tasking with either your body or mind is just not possible. Being able to do several things in quick succession with great ease should not be confused with multi-tasking. Complete one thing, then move on to the next.

Let time move and change and flow while just being within the movement of each moment. The less expectation of the next moment, the more you can fully enjoy the present. Reflection has it’s time and the process of learning involves thinking beyond the moment at hand and there will be time for all that too. But, when you can live and breathe in the now….. just be.

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Taking A Moment

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Pick a version of yourself from the past that makes you feel loved, hopeful, and at peace.  Add as much detail as you want.  Is there someone there with you that deepens that impression?  Let yourself fall in love with the person you were and remember that you are still that person.  Embrace her, take some time for her, and let her be free of all the things that you know are about to happen to her.  I’m glad that younger version of me didn’t know how it was all going to turn out.  Why should we worry her with details?  Let her enjoy the moment.  Life’s best moments are just that: moments.

There’s not much I wouldn’t do to make myself well and keep myself healthy.  You might say I’m having a love affair with myself.  I’m pretty invested in making myself happy, and I’m not afraid to say it.  But a big part of learning how to love myself meant going back and learning to love the younger versions of myself that brought me to where I am today.  I have spent some time thinking about the times that were hard and how they have brought about the most change.  There’s nothing enchanting about sitting idle in a brokedown palace.  There is nothing natural about being stagnant.  Life is about evolving and growing.  By embracing the flow and staying focused on self-love along the way you nurture your soul and create hopeful and peaceful versions of yourself in the present to look back on in the future.

So when you convince yourself that you don’t have enough time to devote to yourself, or that you just can’t take a few minutes away from your busy life to quiet your mind and calm your soul, remember that one day you may need today’s version of yourself to draw on to ease your mind another day.  Take a moment. Make a memory.  You’ll thank yourself later.

“I think a spiritual journey is not so much a journey of discovery.  It’s a journey of recovery.  It’s a journey of uncovering your own inner nature.  It’s already there.”  -Billy Corgan

photo courtesy of mconnors from morguefile.com

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