Yesterday I heard the same message from two different people: Be present in this perfect moment. Now it’s one thing to hear this message delivered from your life coach….another thing altogether when it is delivered by a friend stopping by for an unexpected visit. I felt like I was almost hearing the “Doo doo doo doo” from Twilight Zone in my ears. Ok Universe….I get it…I am suppose to really pay attention to this right now!
What does being present mean? And what is a perfect moment?
For me being present, it is a purposeful choice to stop worrying about my past and learning to let it go. Every time I think I am making progress in this area, I get a message delivered (like yesterday) that reminds me I still have work to do. We all have regrets, past wishes, what-ifs and should-ofs that we hold onto much longer than we should. Learning to accept we did the very best at that time in our past…is a gift we give to ourselves. Yes, I could continue to rehash and relive choices I made that influenced me but what would be the point? I can’t go back and change any of it and if I did, who knows where I would be now? What I can do though, is to let it go. I can give it up as a gift to myself that I will no longer hold as a restraint. I’m not saying this is easy by any stretch, but it is something that will help move you towards a more mindful way of living in the present. Letting go of things you did..and didn’t do..is equally important.
In speaking with my coach yesterday, we discussed times in my life where I had felt a particular emotion. These were times in my youth and young adulthood that have shaped me into the woman I am today, yet I do still wish I could go back and modify to some degree. Knowing I had a choice at that time but didn’t act upon it (as I would do now) has been challenging to me. What if I did X instead of Y? Where could I be now if I stayed true to Z? These times of questioning the choices I made does not do anything to move me forward. It limits my personal growth and only keeps me tied to the past. Could I have made different choices? Absolutely. But dwelling or worrying about that today does me no good. It takes me further from my present and keeps me in a vicious cycle of the past. Part of living in the moment for me is naming my past choices with a loving grace and then releasing them back to the past. Yes, I see you bad choice…and you can go back to whence you came. I am choosing NOW to recognize I did the best I could at that moment (with all the skills, knowledge, and experience I had at that time) and stop looking at it through my current lenses of life. And that moment in time, was perfect for what it was.
Yesterday in my conversation with my friend, we talked about a past event that neither of us had any control over. Two children in our town died last year and this weighs heavily on my friend (and all parents as fears). We talked about how this painful event is a reminder to both of us that we need to live for each day, cherish our families, and let go the regrets we have. It was a powerful, yet brief conversation, reinforcing this notion of living in the moment. I do admit even while talking with this dear friend, I had the annoying voice pop in my head (you don’t have time for this…you should be working….how much longer will this take… and so on). I hate to admit to that voice, but it was there and was a lesson, a true lesson, in being present. I made a very conscious decision by telling that voice that this is exactly what I needed to be doing and nothing else I could possibly be doing was more important than this time now talking with this friend. It was a decision I will not regret and one I could easily make daily (once I shut that voice off). Trying to live in the moment, be mindful, be present…its all a part of this journey I am on.
The other factor I need to keep in mind while living present is to stop worrying about the future! Of course, I completely believe in (and participate in frequently) goal setting, making plans, and preparing for events, places, and experiences that will (future tense confirmed) happen. Even today, we are struggling with planning for the future as my father-in-law is currently being placed in long-term care for his recent stroke and Alzheimer’s. What is important to note at this time is while planning for the future it is essential to be present today. This means we need to appreciate what we can experience today with helping my mother-in-law or communicating with family members about the decisions that need to be made.
Ah. So here I am trying to be present with my computer and mindful that I want to live this way. It’s a way of life I want to live and one, alas, that I need to be constantly working on. I am grateful of the reminders that come my way through serendipitous events and hope to continue to work towards being present for every conversation, experience, and thought. I see this as a big goal to master this in my life.
How do you become present? What triggers work for you to remember to be mindful of now?