The Gift of Presence: 5 Easy Ways to Live in The Moment
The past is a ghost, the future a dream. All we ever have is now. - Bill Cosby
Regardless of your personal feelings, Cosby's quote is an undeniable nugget of truth. The older I get, the more I realize that nothing matters more than the present. Today really is all we have. So what can we do if all we have is a small, limited moment in time? We can live in the 'now' and commit to being 100% present wherever we are. But if we're honest, this is easier said than done. So here are 5 simple steps that can help us be fully present as we live our day to day lives.
1. Put down the phone/tablet/electronic device
I'm a millennial and so by default, I tend to pick up my phone more often than I'd care to admit. But every time I intentionally put down the phone, I notice that my attention span is awakened. I'm alert, I'm listening better and to be honest, I feel more alive.
2. Eliminate Multi-tasking
For years, I thought of myself as a multi-tasking queen. Despite the million things that were thrown my way, I could almost always manage to get the job done. But there was a huge price to pay. I made less eye contact. I listened to only half of what was said and I wasn't mindful of anything really. My thoughts were scattered, fractured and I never really had time to slow down or to stop and think. But living in the here and now, forces me focus on one thing at a time. And honestly, life is so much better this way. Conversations are full of substance. I make less mistakes at work and quality time with friends and family really is a thing of quality and great value. We weren't made to do a million things at a time. We were made for such a time as this. So do one thing at a time and do it heartily.
3. Listen Mindfully (to yourself and others)
Listening mindfully is essential. Too often we listen half-heartedly while we are focused on other things. But listening holds the key to identity. There is no better way to learn more about yourself and others than to listen. So take a moment (even 5 or 10 minutes will do) and reclaim your life from the madness. Listen to what's going on in your heart, your mind and your soul. Do you need rest? Do you need time alone? Are you lacking community? What about your spouse? Your friends? Family? Co-workers? You won't know until you made the decision to stop and listen.
4. Savor the Moment
I am pretty horrible at this one. Too many times, I get lost in a moment. Caught up in my thoughts or trying too hard to get the perfect picture to savor the moment when I'm doing any and everything except savoring the moment. But I am starting a new rhythm in my day to day life - stop, drop and savor. No matter how small, ordinary or big the moment is, I am going to take the time to stop what I'm doing, drop the device and savor the moment. Besides, the sunrise on my way to work isn't even less fabulous than it is when I'm on vacation. And the sound of my husband's laughter is just as wonderful on a Monday morning as it is on a Friday night. Miracles are happening every second of every day, we just need to pay better attention.
5. Embrace your senses
Do you remember learning about the 5 senses in elementary school? Whatever happened to them? If you're anything like me, it's so easy to stop and embrace the senses. But every moment is a chance to embrace the senses. What do you hear? What do you see and smell? What can you feel? Tangibly and emotionally? Stopping to engage your senses is a reminder to enjoy what is happening now.
Life comes at us fast. With quick deadlines, constant demands and a steady flow of things to get done but that's no excuse to let life past you by. Learn from the past and plan for the future but don't live for either of them. All we have is now so make the most of every single moment.
Life is so much better when it's lived without regret.