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“Love the moment, and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries.”
– Corita Kent
I’m a great believer in living in the now – albeit, for many it’s easier said than done. Being present. In the moment. And if you think about the future, where many of us live, what is the future? Actually, the future is nothing more and nothing less than billions and billions of “NOWs.” So, there’s now, and now, and now, and now, and now and now – no future, just “now.”
Life is a very long journey, sometimes pleasant, sometimes challenging. However it unfolds, life is still just a succession of moments – NOWs.
One moment is joyful, another sad, another frustrating, another benign, another terrifying. In fact, most of our NOWs are plain and ordinary. No highs, no lows. Just consistently ordinary.
The choice is this: Do I choose to love the moment I’m in right now, or do I choose to loathe and suffer through the moment I’m in? The former points to experiencing a life you love, cherish and enjoy; the latter points to surviving, resisting and hating your life. How you view the moment is a choice. No one is twisting your arm; no one is pointing a gun to your head. It’s about you and how you choose to relate to your moments.
The “right time”
In essence, this moment, this NOW, is all there is. If you’re one whose mantra is “I’m waiting for the ‘right time’,” there’s a better than average chance you’re experiencing some degree of pain or suffering in some way, shape or form right now. (and, by the way, we all know the “right time” never comes; something inevitably gets in the way, and if/when it does, it’s not when you expect it)
(Note: dreaming is fine except when you find yourself missing so many moments, so many NOWs because you’re living in the “future.” Lots of folks like this often lament, “Where did my life go?”. These are the folks who never truly “lived.” For these folks, the future never comes and when it does, they’re usually caught up in some other type of pain and suffering and waiting for another future, and another future and another future to arrive and bring their happiness.)
Now is all there is
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”
One key to happiness is to appreciate the moment and see the “sacredness” of each moment. Not the sacredness of religion or theology, per se, (however, that’s available, if you choose), but appreciating the specialness, the good and seeing what joy exists in this moment, right here and right now. There is some degree of happiness in every moment, if we choose to focus on that happiness. (Victims and martyrs hardly ever do). Living in the future negates the happiness available in the moment.
Let go of the past and future
The reality is, life only happens now. Letting go of the future (and the past) allows you to bring the happiness you are into the moment, regardless of what you’re doing or what’s going on around you. Being in the moment, sensing into whatever element of happiness is available right here and right now (and it is, if you look for it, or allow it to arise) supports you to live this moment, and this moment, and this moment with ease, grace and joy.
Appreciating the NOW
“The more I give myself permission to live in the moment and enjoy it without feeling guilty or judgmental about any other time, the better I feel about the quality of my work.”
– Wayne Dyer
Living in the NOW and appreciating the NOW is not all that easy. Appreciating the NOW is about cherishing who you are, what you have, recognizing how good things are, and choosing to not focus on who you aren’t or what you don’t have. Appreciating the NOW is about allowing the ordinary. It’s about finding the inner peace within, right here and right now, just where you are – at your desk, on the elevator, commuting, doing the dishes, watching TV- reading this piece.
Appreciating the NOW means choosing to surrender any discomfort, upset, negative emotion and feeling. When you can do that, and choose to do that, then a sense of appreciation, positivity, OK-ness will come in to fill the void in this NOW, and this NOW and this NOW.
Rather than waiting for quantum events to happen, appreciate the ordinary. Experience the happiness of a Wednesday signaling the middle of the week, or being at home on Friday night watching a movie or a sporting event or stopping for your favorite cup of coffee.
The ordinary is more than ordinary
As you choose to live in the moment, focus on the ordinary – the sights, the sounds, the colors, shapes or textures, the tastes and aromas, the space in which everything exists, or the space between objects. That’s presence. That’s the state where we can become immersed in what is happening NOW, and NOW and NOW.
Finally, living in the moment means focusing your mind on what is good, just and right with your life and with the world, right here and right NOW, and NOW, and NOW and NOW. Soon, you’ll be able to see life in a (more) positive light, even in the ordinary moments, and this new way of being will become second nature.
Allowing yourself to look for and appreciate what is here NOW and what is happening in this moment, and this moment, and this moment you’ll begin to notice that your mind relaxes and embraces the moment with greater ease.
The moment is about living your life NOW, not tomorrow, and certainly not yesterday.
“If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves. ”
– Maria Edgeworth,
Some questions for self-reflection:
“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.”
– Abraham Maslow
- What “one day” or “right time” are you dreaming about, waiting or wishing for? Are you one who is consistently waiting for some other time so you can be happy? How is this strategy working for you?
- How do you experience “newness” in your life?
- How do you feel about your life in this moment? How so?
- Do you run on a treadmill of unhappiness? If so, why?
- What are you attached to? (e.g., money, possessions, status, etc.)
- What’s holding you back from experiencing happiness?
- When are you most alive? How so?
- In what ways does fear constrict you?
- Do you spend an inordinate amount of time fantasizing?
- Do you live much of your life in the past or in the future? If so, why?
- Do you spend a lot of time catastrophizing, worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet and might not happen at all, or ruminating – thinking bleakly about events in the past? When and where did you learn to do that?
- Can you imagine yourself living in the moment, in the NOW?
- How did you parents or primary caregivers experience “now?” In conversations, how much time did they devote to the past or future?
“I always wanted a happy ending… Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.”
– Gilda Radner
(c) 2019, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.
What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”
I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.
I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com
You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.