The present is a gift

Posted on June 24, 2013

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live-in-moment-fabulousA point raised during my interview the other night on Dubai Eye’s Eye on Careers was that in today’s fast-paced world, we too often forget to live in the moment. We’re so busy either thinking about the past … past experiences, past events, what we should have said and done … or in the future … constantly plotting and planning about the what, where’s and why’s that we want going forward. This is something I’m always conscious of but still, I find myself having to constantly remind myself to be present … to live in the moment.

Here are some top tips to do so:

  • Tune in to your senses
 We all too often dull our senses … sometimes intentionally, to listen to music, audio books and so on … but other times, we simply ignore our senses.  How often do you wolf down a meal without even taking the time to taste your food? (Me: Guilty!). Practicing the art of mindful eating is a great way to demonstrate just how powerful an influence our senses have on experiencing the moment.
  • Stop multi-tasking Again, note to self and most females! If our attention is divided between multiple tasks, it’s simply impossible to live in the moment.  Instead, we should single-task and focus fully on experiencing that task.  Zen monks practice this in every aspect of their life.  If they’re sweeping, they focus completely on sweeping.
  • Find your flow
 I’ve written about flow before but strictly in a running sense. Reaching flow is when you’re totally in the zone … when your thoughts and actions flow seamlessly and with ease. A similar experience of finding flow can be had in any area of life though … that feeling of being totally immersed in whatever you’re doing. Now that’s living in the moment regardless of whether your cooking, writing, painting or dancing.
  • Step back
 We’re normally furthest from living in the moment when in stressful situations because stress forces us to think ahead to the future or to rehash the past in our minds.  Have you ever argued with someone and later realised that you were so busy focusing on what you wanted to say next, that you didn’t even listen to what they were saying? (Me: yes and I know H1 would agree!) The next time you find yourself in a stressful situ, take a step back and try to view it as an outsider. This will help you to remain present and better fixed to respond rather than react.
  • Breathe
 Every moment of the day, we have a never-ending list of responsibilities and distractions, which understandably seem just overwhelming at times. That feeling of being overwhelmed however pulls us out of the moment so the next time you feel freaked out at all that you have to do, just breathe. Honestly, just breathe! It will refocus you and help you return to the moment.  This is why meditation is such a powerful tool … see below!
  • Meditate
 In addition to focusing with some deep breathing, meditation takes this one step further and really helps calm your mind and de-clutter distractions. I’ve written before about how to meditate. Read it here!
  • Be fearless
 It’s impossible to live in the moment if you’re worried what others think of you so actively try to face your fears and gain the confidence, bit by bit, to quash them. Scared to speak in public for example?  Well ask your boss if you can lead the next team meeting … fear is all about our perception rather than reality anyway …
  • Ignore the future and let go of the past If we’re focused on the future or the past, we’re not in the moment.  So … stop reminiscing about old times or planning next months calendar. Likewise, stop spending your holidays snapping with your iPhone. The cost of capturing a moment in time so you can look back on a past moment is missing the experience of the moment itself.

Let the past be and let the future unfold as and when it comes.

Or consider it this way:

“The present moment is the substance with which the future is made.

Therefore, the best way to take care of the future

is to take care of the present moment.

What else can you do?”

― Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Mindful Living

Have a great week

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