I take great pride in being a planner. I plan each month, each week and each day on a continual basis. It makes me feel empowered and reduces anxiety and stress. However, I also know the importance of the present moment, the importance of now. I relish being organized and on top of my life, knowing what I need to do at work and at home on a daily basis, but I also enjoy being present and embracing the moment that I have right this minute, right now.
Several years ago I read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. It was a few years after reading The Seat of the Soul as I wanted to read some type of follow up to that book and felt that this was the one. Part of the title says “A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” which for some people it is or could be. For me I learned two things from the book. One, understanding that the past doesn’t necessarily define me and as much as I think about and plan for the future, I can’t worry about it too much, because none of us can predict what will truly happen. Two, learning how to live more consciously in the present moment.
As I reflect on that book today, I find myself living and experiencing the present moment more and more. What I mean by that is, in and around my day to day, which can get pretty hectic, I take moments that help me to appreciate who I am, my life and the world around me. Here are some of the things I do:
Take a Walk
Everyday I walk to and from work and I also have to walk my wonderful dog Asia. Most of that walking is not embracing the present moment, because I’m rushing to get to work or to get home or to quickly walk Asia, because I have other stuff to do. Sometimes when I walk Asia I multitask by calling friends or family to catch up with them, that doesn’t count either. What I do is, in the middle of my work day, usually after lunch, I take a walk. It’s only for fifteen minutes and I don’t bring my cell phone. I don’t think about work and what I have to do, I don’t think about what I have to do after work, I just take a walk observing and appreciating everything around me. It might be a beautiful sunny day, so that’s what I focus on and appreciate the beauty in that. There may be a mom and her child sitting and playing, so I appreciate the beauty in that. It might be a bird flying by, so I appreciate the beauty in that. Whatever it is, it has nothing to do with the day to day humdrum, it’s usually things that we never take the time to appreciate, because we’re chasing after the busyness of life.
There are of course moments when I take Asia for a walk and I can get into that same place and enjoy my time with her and shut off from the world around me. I make sure that if that’s what I’m going to do, then I leave my cell phone at home.
Try it some time, take a break from work and take a fifteen minute walk for yourself to embrace the present moment. You will return to work feeling refreshed, relaxed and ready to continue the day. There really isn’t ever anything at work that is so pressing that you can’t have that moment for yourself.
I devoted a whole post to yoga and why I felt everyone needed to incorporate into their life. Now I want to share with you why doing yoga is embracing the now.
I have been an avid workout person for years and years. I have had countless gym memberships, I’ve done all sorts of classes, but I finally brought yoga into my life and it’s one of the best things I did for myself last year.
When you do yoga you have no choice but to turn off from the world around you. You are forced to experience that present moment. Funny enough, it’s actually very difficult because I think our minds are always racing with all kinds of thoughts, so to be in that present moment for one hour is quite the challenge, but necessary to do. I think those final moments of the class when you’re in the Shavasana position are the hardest. The room for the most part is quiet, although some classes have soft music playing, but you are lying down and you are not focusing anymore on getting into downward dog or warrior one, you are now truly in the present moment, so embrace it for those few minutes.
If you are not interested in doing yoga for exercise, do it for the amazing opportunity to do nothing but take some time for yourself and put the world on pause for one hour, your mind will thank you.
If you think yoga is difficult, try meditating. Who among any of us can take ten minutes and sit some where quietly. If you live alone it’s probably easier, but if you have a husband, a wife, a dog, children, even roommates, it’s nearly impossible.
After reading all the benefits of meditation and to be honest, friends who had trouble getting pregnant using meditation to help them conceive (which worked!), I finally started to do it. I usually meditate two to three times a week right before I go to bed. As it’s not exactly quiet in my house, I do guided meditation with different Youtube videos, using earphones. I sit on my bed cross-legged, put on my ear phones, close my eyes and play the video. It is so relaxing and a great way to prepare my body for sleep.
Eventually I would like to try true meditation in a quiet setting, but for now this works. Ten to fifteen minutes before bed is nothing! Instead of mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, meditate. Instead of worrying about the next day, meditate. If you’re an avid reader like me, read first for a good thirty minutes and then meditate for ten.
The next time you’re running around living another hectic day, ask yourself if you’ve taken a moment to embrace now. If you haven’t, do it and try to remember to do it everyday.
8 Ways Meditation Can Improve Your Life – Huffington Post
The Benefits of a Lunch Hour Walk – New York Times