The team of LEADERS that I’m currently coaching suggested I blog about being present and in the moment, this week. So I’m posing the question, Where Are You, NOW? Stop and really think about the true answer before responding. Are you fully present in your mind, body and spirit NOW? Or is your body in one location but your mind and spirit are off somewhere else? I can tell you from experience, most people are divided between the past, present, and the future.
I remember arriving in town to visit a friend. We were in deep conversation; just catching up as she drove us to her house from the airport. The ride was pretty uneventful UNTIL road construction interrupted the route she’d mapped out for us. My friend expressed her frustration with having to take a detour. I wasn’t familiar with the area so I didn’t have a preference one way or the other but she did. After proceeding past the construction, the ride became less smooth. Cars began cutting us off. We swerved in and out of lanes due to traffic build ups. I saw more brake lights than I care to remember. We even came across more construction. My friend continued to complain about having to veer from her previously plotted course. I blurted out, “You are still at the intersection with the construction, PLEASE BE HERE NOW so that we can get to your house SAFELY”. We both broke into a fit of laughter but my assessment was completely accurate. My friend snapped back into the present moment and we made it to her house unharmed. Later she said, I never realized what it meant to be in the past and the present at the same time until you made that statement in the car.
I have another friend that regularly runs off into the future creating obstacles to overcome. (When she reads this I’ll get fussed at because I call her on it all the time.) Backstory – she’s transitioning to a new job and has a couple weekend trips scheduled over the next few months. As soon as she got excited about the possibility of the new job, “BAM”, ego kicked in. She called me to ask my opinion on how to handle potential conflicts between the new job and the trips she’d planned. She says, “The 1st trip is coming up next week. What should I do if they ask me to start work the day after I return home? What if I'm too tired after the trip to hit the ground running on my 1st day of work? Should I push the start date back? What do I do about the other trips? How do I handle it if my boss says I can’t take the time off?” I just laughed and said you’re making this all up. None of these things exist except in the mind of the person considering them. You can have the new job and take the trips by just handling the circumstances as they arise instead of inventing them in advance. For all you know, your new boss may not have an issue with giving you the time off. Just ask for what you want.
In both instances, my friends were not present and in the moment. One was stuck in the past at a construction ridden intersection even though we were miles away. The other was off in the future worrying about problems that didn’t really exist. At some point in life, all of us make similar mistakes. Getting stuck in the past and negatively projecting into the future robs us of the POWER OF NOW. I truly believe we are co-creating our lives with God. SPIRIT is aware of the past and the future but RESIDES and CREATES in the NOW. That means everything we experience serves a Divine purpose. When your attention is anywhere other than the present you may miss what God is sharing with you NOW.
Mentally rehearsing the past (ruminating) only recommits you to reliving it in the near future. In the scenario with my friend driving, she recreated opportunities to make detours during our drive home until she realigned herself with the present moment. It looked like people cutting us off which caused us to change speed(detour), traffic delays which caused us to switch lanes (detour), and more construction which caused us to change routes(detour).
Worry about “what ifs” is literally like transforming a walk in the park into an obstacle course. I’m certain that you are powerful enough to overcome any and all circumstances you are faced with. BUT….Why would you purposely place rings of fire on your path? I love the way Carolyn Myss says it – Stop sending your spirit out on suicide missions! If you are going to project energy into the future, meditate on your ideal situation. In my friend’s case, she can envision her new boss approving the time off instead of worrying that he won’t.
Here’s how I call my spirit back when I realize that I’m not fully present. First, I focus on my breathing until it becomes calm and steady. Then I answering these questions….
What’s going on around me in this moment? (scenery, people, objects, smells, sounds, etc.)
What am I feeling, right NOW? (emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually)
Am I safe NOW?
Am I hungry, right NOW?
Do I need anything, right NOW?
Do I have the money I need in this moment to survive this moment?
Is there something happening NOW that I’m trying to avoid dealing with?
If I answer no to questions #3 - #5, I handle what I need to handle to be safe and meet my current needs. If the answer to #7 is yes, I tell myself the truth about what’s really going on. Then I make a decision to either address what I’m avoiding, reposition myself to address the issue at a later time or remove myself completely if it’s something I don’t want to deal with at all. Other tips that will help you stay present
Meditation – This spiritual practice allows you to become present, aware, and centered.
Prayer – Ask, Expect & Receive the Miracle instead of worrying about what you don't want.
STOP Procrastinating – Just do it. Analyzing and self beat are distractions from the present.
Tell the Truth – Suppressing what you feel, think, and experience is a also denying the present.
Journal – all of those ideas and antics in your head need a place to land. Write them down.
All these things will help you stay aligned mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Eckhardt Tolle has an enlightening book called The Power of Now. It’s a great read for anyone truly struggling with an ego that keeps them everywhere but here, NOW.