Living in NOW

Living in NOW

Forever it seems I have been bumping into the sage advice to “be present,” “be in the now,” “be mindful,” “live in the moment.”  All of that sounds lovely, but really what does it mean and how the heck do I stop the runaway train of my life to do it.

Here’s the good news, most of it is not difficult, it can take seconds to do, and it brings a significant increase in the amount of joy in our life.

Life is broken down in three sections:

  1. Where we've been (the past)
  2. NOW
  3. What’s ahead (the future)

So, we all know we can’t change the past, yet how much time do we spend thinking about the past?  How many minutes of our day is spent dissecting a past incident or conversation?   How much time do we spend thinking about things that haven’t even happened, or having conversations in our heads we are “going to have,” even worrying about something that no amount of worry is going to change?  Stop the mind chatter, these are our missed moments of NOW and these missed moments of NOW is life passing us by.

4 Easy Steps to Bring Us Back To Now

Let’s get started, here are a few tips and tools to settle our busy brains.  Numbers 1 thru 4 are quick and easy processes that can snap us back to NOW in seconds.

1. Look around.  Seriously, look around, let yourself focus on something outside of yourself, touch something, smell something, listen.  This is where the RHRN gear comes in handy, put that "bump" everywhere.

2. Breathe in on Right Here.  Breathe out on Right Now.  Do this 5 times, what I like to do is close my eyes on the first three breaths and open them for the last two.  I find this 30 second exercise instantly brings me back to now.  Opening my eyes I focus on something around me that is pleasing, a tree, a cloud, a child, something, anything that brings me joy.  This is my go to process, it is quick and very effective.

3. Love the one you’re with.  Okay, maybe that is a stretch, but what I am saying here is, wherever you are and whoever you are with, stop the mind chatter and get in the present moment.  Focus on them, look them in the eye and engage. Really listen to what they are saying, not thinking about what you are going to say next.  How often are we in a conversation and our mind is totally elsewhere?   We aren't learning when we are talking, there is tremendous benefit in honing our listening skills.  Slow down, be mindful, have genuine conversations, be more interested than interesting.   Reach out and BE NOW with someone.

4. Say it.  How many times have we not said something kind or complimentary because we either don’t take the time or we think we sound uncool.  This goes for people we know or total strangers.  Those simple things pop into our head, we bump into someone and something about them strikes us. Just say it, it fills your heart with NOW joy and chances are you will make their day.  Kindness is totally cool.

If we are willing to let go of our past we will have inherently more joy in our life.

Number 5 & 6 are what I call “take a deeper cut.”  These steps require a bit more work

5. That’s what so, so what, now what?  This statement is in no way intended to minimize any persons experience along the road of life, some of our personal history is very traumatic and has an indelible impact.  The intent in the statement is, there is nothing we can do to change what has happened, no matter how hard we try, it is in the past.  What are some things we can do when we find ourselves in the salad spinner of the past?  Stop, close your eyes, take some deep breaths, feel your feet, focus on something outside of yourself, bring yourself back to the safety of this moment.  The more time we can spend in the present moment the less anxiety we experience from our past. We may not get a vote about what life hands us, but we can choose how we are going to feel about it, what we are going to do about it, and what we learned from it. My intent is not to diminish anyones experience or pain, my message is, hanging onto the past overshadows what can be the beauty of this moment. Healing the past begins by living in the present.

6. Forgiveness.  Yep, this is a “Biggy.”   Before you say “no way, I will never forgive (fill in the Blank)” think about this:  As long as we hold on to the past and the hurts, we keep paying the price over and over again, stop letting them win and holding you hostage.  The thing about forgiveness, it isn’t for them, it's for you, they don’t even need to be involved.  Even if you begin with “I forgive you, you rotten*@#”, start somewhere.  Every time the person or incident enters your mind just say, “I forgive you,” eventually you will begin to  find your heart space open up. Lastly and most important, forgive yourself.  So often we are toughest on ourselves, it may be time to cut ourselves a break, none of us are perfect.  Go ahead and say it, "I forgive myself".  I find forgiveness to be one of the most valuable processes in my life.

The Beauty of Now

I am not suggesting that we can stop all the mind chatter, what I am saying is we can make a conscious choice to how much time we spend letting our minds chatter.  When we find ourselves dancing with the past or tripping on the future, recognize you are doing it.  Let yourself make the decision of how much time you want to spend doing it.  The beauty of BEING NOW is, it is up to us how much time we want to spend in it.  My experience is, the more I live in the moment, the more connected I am to life and people around me and the more joy I have in my life.

All roads lead to now.

RHRN ~ Suzanne