On Being Mindful of the Moment & Receiving the Gift of Presence
The distance between yesterday and tomorrow is today. The “distance” is time, which comprises many moments. And with each moment comes a choices: a choice to give or take, to laugh or cry, to open or close, to “be” or “do”. Being mindful of the moment and receiving the gift of presence is a vital component of a life well lived.
Your past is founded in expired moments, your future is full of malleable moments, and the gift of your presence is a moment in the making.
Today is a result of your past decisions and tomorrow is the result of the decisions you make today. With this knowledge, you understand that you are the daily designer of your ultimate destiny, but unless you live in the present moment, your future- by reality of replacement- never arrives, and the journey is altogether missed.
Sad, but true, so be here now.
Do you live with Regret? Resentment? Fear? Please do yourself a favor and stop. You’re poisoning and torturing yourself. You have to release it- all of it- if you want to start living again. Come out of hiding. Forgive yourself for everything you’ve ever done that wasn’t quite up to par, or “perfect”, make your amends, and get on with a life worth living- and sharing.
It’s a lot easier to function without the noise of your past and the anxiety producing pining strobes of your future cluttering your current clarity. Freedom can be scary- it’s sometimes much easier to remain trapped and strewn with self-criticism, cloaked in fear and and bearing a shield of distrust for all humanity.
Superficially, it can seem much more comfortable to blame and maintain barriers than to open, share and fully love yourself and others. Walls that you have erected between you and your happiness shield you from the vulnerability (and courage) of feeling. Isolation can seem much less difficult, safer and more calculated but it’s lonely; It’s devoid of sunshine, of connection, of memorable moments, of life.
Facilitate unity by sharing. Embrace people and engage with them in conversation; Lend your thoughts, feelings and support. Love unconditionally, while remaining true to yourself. Do not judge. Practice being non-reactive.
Saturate every second of every minute of every day- for the rest of your life- with the purity and promise of your soul. Ground in Gratitude. “Give thanks” daily. Thank yourself, your natural surroundings, thank your experiences and the wisdom gained from them, thank your family and friends, thank your God.
The opposite of appreciation is greed. Avoid overconsumption of food, things and unhealthy behaviors. Release unreasonable expectations and strict demands that you so often place on yourself and others. Stop racing against time and start enjoying the time you have!
Allow your dreams to come to fruition by indulging in the fruit of the moment. Slow down and savor the deeply nourishing nectar of the here and now. Stand in the sunshine, close your eyes and allow the gentle breeze to wrap its arms around you and cradle you back to the moment; with the gift of presence, the moment becomes infinite.
For every bit of attention you lend to the experience of now, the quality of the now experience expands in all directions. Between the quality of what you just did and the quality of what you are about to do exists the quality of what you are doing right now. You qualify your life by how you spend your time. Time is priceless. Invest wisely.
“Zoning out” and “zoning in” are two completely opposite experiences that yield polar effects. I often use this quote to describe the progress or inhibition of character growth, goal achievement and life fulfillment. Every decision either brings you closer to or further from the experience your soul seeks and the unique gifts you are meant to share with the world.
It is important to have goals, but remember that goals have steps that if skipped may cause failure instead of success. Base your choices on the big picture, but practice acute action in accordance with your path’s final destination. Both a hustle culture attitude and a corner cutting modus operandi will get you nowhere fast.
Take a step back for an objective perspective, tweak whatever needs recalibration or upgrading and then dive in with mindfulness and awareness, allowing a joyful sense of curiosity to steer your ship rather than holding onto the bullhorns of stress being dragged aimlessly through your days without present attention and actualized intention.
As the saying goes, you can’t take the wrong directions and get to the right place on the same journey.
“Zoning Out” is:
- Sitting wastefully in front of the TV for hours on end
- Spending an exorbitant amount of hours working instead of curating a much more balanced, healthy and fulfilling life; make a commitment to work smarter for expedited success and avoid the chaos, clutter, distraction and overwhelm that often occur with work addiction
- Neglecting your physical, mental and emotional well-being by placing externally imposed deadlines before self-care.
- Spending endless amounts of money on material things; being consumed by ‘status’ rather than service
- Allowing self-manipulation by consistently encouraging or allowing negative people, emotions and experiences to control your life.
- Ignoring signs of possibility
- Avoiding opportunities to make others happy
- Living in fear of rejection or failure.
- Disregarding your conscience or “gut” feelings.
“Zoning In” is”
- Wandering aimlessly through the woods noticing and appreciating things great and small.
- Paying close attention to the natural rhythms of your body: the flow of your breath, the pulse of your blood and the beat of your heart and remembering what a miracle you are.
- Spending quality time with friends and family.
- Setting your intention to be powered on purpose and do meaningful work that inspires you and others
- Meditation, Prayer, Service, Volunteering, Practicing/Sending out gratitude
- Tuning in to each and every one of your senses. Consciously hearing/listening, touching, tasting, smelling, seeing/focusing.
- Consciously making your family’s favorite farm-fresh meal, infusing it with love and enjoying the process.
- Smiling, Laughing, Loving.
- Seizing the moment.
“Living in the now provides clarity, insight and overwhelming peace of mind. When we are not in the now, we are left with conversations in our heads, the catalyst being the ‘should’ve’, could’ve, would’ve syndrome. Many of us are in that state of mind because we are uncomfortable with our regrets from the past and the uncertainty of the future”. – S.B., MLBM
Mark Nepo, author of “The Book of Awakening” writes:
“There are two ways to feel wind: climb into the open and be still or keep moving. Being human, there are endless times we need to be still and as many times that we need to move. But much of our confusion as modern citizens comes from trying to have the one we are more comfortable with substitute for the other. Those of us who struggle with being still often can’t find the native wind, while those of us uncomfortable with living in the world can retreat not a stillness that is open but often void of the energy of living”.
Release any unfounded notions that allow you to dismiss the significance of each day. Live. Don’t wait for something detrimental to occur before you realize the value of your life. Breathe. Be. Don’t abuse, mistreat or ignore your moments; They are precious.
For some, the possible reality of devastation is so far removed from daily processing as we can be so deeply distracted, rooted in fear-based denial, removed from the awareness and presence of both the sense and state of overwhelm, that the actual realization and proactive perception of today’s gifts is so difficult to tune into and experience comprehensively, yet is often revived immediately on the reactive, with the introduction, setback and ‘wake up call’ of the looming threat of a potentially serious tragedy.
For this reason, Don Miguel Ruiz offers scary but potent advice in his best-selling book. “The Four Agreements”. He encourages our proactive “initiation” of the “angel of death”. In order to apply this technique, we visualize and adopt the specifics of the possibility of our dying tomorrow so that we may live our lives today according to that potential reality.
As Ruiz points out, “The angel of death comes to us and says: you see everything that exists here is mine; it is not yours. Your house, your spouse, your children, your car, your career, your money- everything is mine and I can take it away when I want to, but for now, you can use it….. ”
When we try to live in the past, how can we enjoy the present? That is what the Toltec method of the angel of death teaches us to do; Live in the Present and don’t miss the moments.
A few impactful and very user-friendly ways to immediately center in the moment:
- Intentional Sensory Experience: Wherever you are, take notice of and tune deeply into each of your senses and ask them to relay what they are receiving. What do I see? What do I hear? What do I taste? What do I smell? What do I feel?
- Gratitude Check: Think of three things you are grateful for, visualize them completely and write them down in list or stream of conscious form. Consider keeping a daily gratitude journal.
- Deep Breathing: Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. Simple. Powerful.
- Body Scan: Close your eyes in a place where it is safe to do so and start with visualizing, sensing and honoring your toes, sending them love, appreciation and healing light, then your ankles, your shins, calves, knees, thighs, gluten, abdomen, back, chest, shoulders, upper arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, palms, fingers, throat, jaw, face, skull, top of head.
- Moving Mediation: Take a Walk and let the rhythm of your feet calm your mind.
We are reminded to acknowledge and remain aware of our impermanence here on earth. And we are prompted to seriously stop taking things for granted and to sincerely start living fully so that we can proactively do whatever it takes to mindfully and wholly be the best, most actualized, authentic and loving human beings for ourselves, for our families and communities, for all people and for our planet.
Today, carve out some time proactively to forget about future deadlines and external responsibilities. Quiet the noise for a moment and live for now; be thankful both in and for this moment; feel and spread the gift of presence.