The other day we had a incident.
One kid jumped off the couch and landed on the other. The jumper went on as if nothing had happened and the other was left quietly whimpering. So, I asked what hurt. The response turned to full crocodile tears with, “He hurts me all the time and I just want to hurt him back.”
I was crushed. But immediately thought about all those times in yoga where the teacher tells us to be in the moment, don’t compare this pose today to how you did it last week or the week before. I took that off the mat and brought it to this moment.
I asked her to only think of this incident, and not any other. I asked if she thought it was on purpose or an accident. I asked her to think about his reaction. I told her that we can’t compare past experiences to the current moment. That we can’t assume anything, because when we do, we are living in the past, and not providing an opportunity for growth. Personal growth for us, growth for others in our lives, growth for our relationships.
WHEN YOU ARE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT - YOU ARE NOT WORRYING ABOUT THE PAST OR FEARING THE FUTURE
Putting your attention on the past brings your focus on the worry. Whether it's small things or big things, they come in thoughts like;
Did I say the right thing?
Why did I do that? What are they thinking about me now?
I shouldn't have ate that!
Was that career change the right move?
Alternately, obsessing over what might happen in the future puts you in a state of fear. You may think things like;
I shouldn't do that because I will get hurt!
Will there be enough... money, food, etc.?
What if... I get sick, lose my job, lose this loved one?
I am afraid to go after my dreams because...
SO... why would you want to live in a constant state of worry and/or fear? That does not sound like living your best life!
BEING IN THE MOMENT RELEASES YOU FROM WORRY AND FEAR
When you chose to be in the moment you release that worry and all those fears. Ok, but like, how do I do that? If you're like me, you've spent a great deal of time digging around your past and fearing what is to come. It feels "safe" because it's familiar. Retraining yourself to be in the NOW is work and it takes time but it is so worth the effort. Here's a "What If" for you. What if, you were consistently happy? What if, you felt joy everyday? This is available to you all the time, in every moment by being present.
How do you get there? I am by no means an expert but I have been working on this in my daily life and the tools I have learned from mentors have taught me so much. I have been experiencing changes in my self talk, interactions with others, my moods, my feelings and emotions, the way I parent my kids. It's happening little by little but with each change I get excited and crave the next experience. I am still a work in progress but I want to share what I am doing with you, so you can experience being present NOW.
HOW I PRACTICE LIVING IN THE MOMENT
MEDITATION. My goal is to come to my meditation seat every day, but life is life and that is not always possible. I get in a daily groove, fall out of it for this or that reason and eventually come back to it. Even if it's for 5 minutes, just to connect to my breath. And I notice that when I tell myself I am too busy, that is when I need it most.
BREATHE. I know, seems silly. But, seriously. Just breathe. Your breath connects you instantly to the present moment. Focus in on your breath, match your inhale to your exhale, feel the rise and fall of your chest. This alone centers me and brings me back.
YOGA. You knew I was going to say that! But seriously, making it to the mat, moving breath to movement, focusing on each posture, proper alignment, finding your center, balancing effort and ease... It is all practice for being present off your mat.
PRACTICE. This isn't something that happens over night. A mentor suggested that I start small. Practice being in the moment with day to day things, like making coffee, washing my face, preparing dinner. Instead of trying to multitask and letting the mind wander draw your awareness to the activity. In the beginning I would talk to myself about what I was doing. "I am measuring the water", "Let's count the scopes, 1..2..3..", then I would listen to the sounds of the coffee brewing, the sound of the cup filling up as I pour, etc.
PRACTICE AGAIN. It sounds so simple, but these little things were so hard in the beginning. I'd be counting and then all of a sudden I am creating a To-Do list longer than a CVS receipt. But over time I have found that the little things become easier and you can move on to bigger things, like enjoying the morning with your kids, rather than rushing around and fearful of being late.
PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN. Sounds great right, check yourself. Because I wasn't, and I realized I was addicted to my tech. We completed an 8 day digital detox. What an eye opener! I highly recommend assessing your relationship with your devices and being honest with what you find. Make a plan and stick to it. You will thank yourself in the end.
In time I hope you find yourself where I am currently. Noticing, "Hey you!! Stop it!! PAY ATTENTION!" And pulling yourself back to the now. Not only do I appreciate the shift, but so does my family and my friends. I am gaining more out of life and all the Universe has to offer by making it a point to BE HERE NOW.
Not only did I learn from my mentors but I also took the time to read. I highly recommend:
The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle
Practicing the Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle
The Universe Has Your Back - Gabrielle Bernstein