In a fast paced, information overloaded world, it can be difficult to “be in the present” sometimes. We are constantly worrying about the future, as well as the past. One of the most important steps of being “in the present” is being able to differentiate the present from thoughts of the future and past. As simple as that sounds, we often do not categorize these three things, so it becomes one big, jumbled, chaotic mess with no real grasp on time, which means no real grasp on reality.
If you’re just starting to realize that separating these three things (Present, Future, Past) is something you have not been doing, it’s time to do that now, right now, at this very moment, before you move forward with the rest of your life. If you’ve never done that before, you may be scratching your head trying to figure out what that means, and how to go about it. Keep in mind that it is a process, and you may not master it right away. We’re talking about breaking bad habits and rituals that you might have been practicing for years, without even realizing it. Here are some ways to start being in the present:
It starts off this simple. Sometimes we don’t pay attention to our own breathing. When we are filled with anxiety or worry, we often take short breaths that are only making the negative feelings feel worse because we aren’t at the very least giving our bodies adequate oxygen to process whatever we are thinking about. So instead of mindless, short breaths, take in deep breaths, concentrating only on feeling the air fill your lungs, and think about the oxygen that is coming into your body, allowing you to live, and to think. Continue to take deep and cleansing breaths, with only the awareness of how you feel.
- Fix your posture.
Try visualizing aligning the chakras, by creating a straight line from each chakra from the base to the top of the crown. This will help clear out any negative energy that may be settling in bad posture.
- Put instant value in what you are grateful for right now, in this moment.
Instead of focusing on the future or the past, which is often negative memories or thoughts, stop and instead think about everything you are truly grateful for in this moment of your life. You will instantly start to feel more positive and less anxious.
- Take a walk or a moment to stretch, or if you can, go for a jog or bike ride! Engaging your physical body in the present moment, and concentrating only on that, will help you enjoy the present and take you out of the anxiety filled frame of mind of the future and past.
These are some quick tips if you’re just starting to realize how much time you spend in the future or past, and how little time you actually spend in real time-the present, which is absolutely crucial to truly living life.
I will be writing much more on this topic, as it is one of my biggest struggles. I’m a natural born worry wort, and I realized how much of my life I wasn’t spending in the present moment, and these present moments quickly became my past moments, in which I would exist in and ask, why didn’t I enjoy this moment when it was actually happening? Yoga helped me practice “being in the moment” and started the mental shift of the practice of being present. I will be writing more about that in a future post. 🙂
Going through a very transitional period in my life. I can feel the pull to either make it or break it. Vernon Courtland Johnson once read me, in passing while reading the rest of my family in more depth. I was busy vending at an art show, so I only had time to say hello. He asked me, “What makes you happy?” I froze a little, because the question came out of nowhere, and I hadn’t really thought about that in a long time. I pointed to my family and said “They do.” He told me that I was on my last life ( speaking of past lives, and I’ve lived more than most) my challenge in this life is to just be happy. It struck a chord with me, I didn’t know this man, I didn’t tell him anything about myself or my life, and most people see me smiling all the time in public, and assume I’m a quiet and happy person. How did this person totally hit it on the head? Whether you believe in past lives or not, my reality is that I struggle to be happy. I have a good life and I love my family. I’m very fortunate, and I’m grateful for my kids and a wonderful husband who is nearly perfect in my eyes. But, I struggle to be happy. Most days I am sad or angry or feel guilty or like a failure. Even on days where I feel happy, there’s an underlying sadness. Lately it’s been worse. I keep thinking about what VCJ told me.
I took a little time after talking to Carlos about how I was feeling, cried it out a bit, then after getting some work done, took my little one outside. I finally opened up this bubble machine that Rocky got from his Aunt and Uncle for Christmas over a year ago. He loved it. I left it on for him, the wind was making those bubbles dance around, and I wrote about happiness. No real focus or structure, I just wrote. Here’s what came out:
Self realization, letting go of guilt, doubt and fear. Soul searching, finding out who I really am so I can love myself again.
Happiness is not the same as success. It’s not measured in accomplishments. Due dates, schedules and time limits do not help find happiness. Sometimes the brain completely blocks the pathway to happiness.
When one has learned to harden and guard the heart, it’s often frozen over, or it feels as though a layer of concrete is around it, like what was done to some adobe structures, only for the concrete to cause issues unseen, deep within. It’s necessary to be vulnerable in order to be truly happy. Too many disappointments in oneself or others cause true instincts to be seen as a weakness.
While at times, it is necessary for your heart and emotions to go into survival mode, this way of thinking, of practicality, of self preservation, this tactic can get in the way during times of life when you can put down your defenses. It can get in the way of being able to feel happy and to find true happiness. You’ll miss opportunities of joy, because you’ll be too logical to see them. While there is such a thing as wastefulness, you must learn the differences between that and the fun you allow yourself to have.
What makes a two year old truly happy? Not the most expensive toy, or travel, or fancy clothes. It’s so simple. A hug or a kiss from Mommy, bubbles floating in the air, sand between their fingers, their favorite worn down toy, a juicy piece of fruit, dancing wildly, hearing a lullaby being sung, splashing of water, the sound of rain, wind upon their face, running wild while screaming and laughing. Simple things make a child so happy. Somewhere between this age and just before puberty, we lose a chunk of this, especially in our modern society. How do we get some of it back? For someone who analyzes everything to death, it’s extremely difficult. But it’s not impossible. Turning a new leaf and meeting my life’s challenge head on.