“If you continue to live in the past, your life will be history.” –Corey Donaldson
Do you live in the NOW? Congratulations if you have learned to live in in the moment and enjoy your life in the present.
As thinking, rational beings, we humans sometimes think too much: Regretting what did happen; wishing something else had happened; worrying, fretting and agonizing on events that may or may not occur in the future. All of those woulda, coulda, shouldas use a lot of your best energy which would be much better spent maximizing your NOW.
As a culture, we are ingrained with the Puritan work ethic, which teaches us to always be working, producing, improving and striving for a purpose. As a result, idleness can be misconstrued as laziness. Heaven forbid, we allow ourselves to be “lazy!”
Productivity and achievement become internal validation for the super achievers. Self-esteem gets caught in the equation, and unless we are succeeding, we denigrate our value. This self-imposed stress is a choice. In the long run, it’s a deliberate choice that compromises the art of living in simple peace and abundance.
One of the first questions that people ask when they meet someone new is, “What do you do?” It is as if that question defines who we are and what our values represent. Try answering that question with, “I just am.” Wouldn’t that be a paradigm shift—to just be?
Peace of mind will be found when you can arrive at the comforting silence which allows you to accept yourself and simply BE. Better yet, change that question to, “What do you do for fun?” The answer to that question can be a lot more interesting than how a person makes their living. What we do for fun is usually what makes us happy.
True happiness in life exists in the present moment; where you’d rather be in that moment, at that time, than any place else on earth. Do you put conditions on your happiness? I’ll be happy if… I’ll be happy when…? Conditional happiness is an exercise in futility. How can you give your attention to the full experience of living when you are not present?
“It is only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth—and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up—that we will begin to live each day to its fullest, as if it was the only one we had.”—Elisabeth Kubler Ross, 1932.
How can we reprogram our habits and allow ourselves to embrace the present and live in the NOW?
Do things that give you pleasure NOW: A fine meal, fresh flowers, dancing, going to a movie, smiling, forgiving someone, telling your children or spouse that you love them, calling a friend, random acts of kindness. Carpe Diem ~Seize the Day!
- Create: creating is a great therapy for releasing the stress of the past or the worry of the future. Painting, cooking, gardening and singing are just a few activities that involve you in the moment and reward in their fulfillment.
- Play: Remember what you loved to do as a child and DO IT! Children know what adults have forgotten. Children are captivated by the magic of imagination and maximizing the present for joy. Swing, ride a bike, finger paint, run through the rain and splash in the mud puddles.
- Allow idleness: “Work is not always required… there is such a thing as sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected,” said George MacDonald. Give yourself permission to rest, to enjoy, to be.
- “Live in day-tight compartments,” as Dale Carnegie professed in his book, “How To Stop Worrying and Start Living.”The present is our only guarantee since we can’t change the past or control the future.
- Putter: “Puttering is really a time to be alone, to dream and to get in touch with yourself.”—Alexandra Stoddard. To putter is discover. Immerse yourself in the NOW by embracing joyful simplicity in puttering.
- Count your blessings: Life isn’t meant to be a struggle. When bad things happen, stress is over-whelming or people aren’t kind, reflect on the abundance you are blessed with. Maintain an attitude of gratitude and life will be more rewarding.
- Find happiness from within: “When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.”—La Rochefoucauld. Create the opportunity for everyday epiphanies. Each day we can have a revelation of truth which brings us peace, comfort and happiness when we live in the present moment.
Ah Ha!! The light bulb goes off in your head and you can see the light, where once there was total darkness. Don’t you love when that happens? An AH HA moment provides an empowering awakening where you experience true understanding and clarity. It enables you to shift your mindset to a new way of thinking and see things from a new perspective.
“An AH HA is an idea that grabs you. But like slippery fish, ideas are liable to get away, never to return, unless we gaff them with the point of a pencil. Write down your AH HA’s immediately. When you do, they yours,” once shared motivational speaker Joel Weldon in his program, “Success Comes in Cans, Not in Cannots.”
Writing down great ideas is only the beginning to unleashing your goals and enhancing your memory. Useful information is a valuable commodity in living life more effectively so get it on paper before it gets away. Are you a list maker? A note taker? A goal setter? Excellent. When you put your ideas on paper you take ownership, which encourages action. Action manifests success.
Throughout our lifetimes we hear fantastic material! Why do our brains insist upon selective memory? Wouldn’t you love to remember and tell the funniest jokes you’ve ever heard? Would it be great to recall poems or songs that once brought you to tears? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to rely more on your brain and less on your day-timer?
Facts: even while sailing, Albert Einstein scribbled notes and fragments of formulas in a pocket diary. Charles Darwin filled five journals on his voyages, which shaped his Theories of Evolution. Elias Howe invented the sewing machine in a dream he recorded the next morning. “I know what you’re thinking: geniuses the lot. It’s true. Journals, though, were catalysts to their rich productivity. Even Einstein could forget,” wrote Alexandra Johnson.
The journals which I have written over the years have been a flavorful concoction of diverse ideas. Goals, dreams, list of things to do, “how-to” accomplish tasks, fears, joys, success stories. They have all become fibers to a rich tapestry that not only color my personality, but provide a fabulous remembrance for my personal growth and life’s experience.
Even when it’s not in journal form, I’ll have pages and pages of different lists, goals and ideas throughout my house. Some are to fortify a slipping memory; some are to simplify my life; others are to clarify what I need to get done to be effective and productive. A blank pad of paper is a beckoning invitation to pour your words and thoughts on paper. In the book, “The Artists Way,” Julia Cameron encourages everyone to write Morning Pages for 15 minutes a day about anything and everything.
“Anyone who writes morning pages will be led to a connection with a source of wisdom within. The map of our own interior. The pages lead us out of despair and into undreamed-of solutions,” writes Julia Cameron. Despair can represent disorganization, unrealized dreams, a broken heart, overwhelm from daily tasks, stress from too many details and even an unsatisfied yearning for creative expression. Whether to gain clarity, resolve a problem, let off steam, share an opinion or explore new talents, writing will help you get your mental juices flowing to unleash your power within.