February 27, 2014

5 Ways to Stay Present in the Midst of Daily Living. ~ Debbie Laughlin

woman drinking tea

Be in the moment.

Are you tired of hearing this?

It seems that those who are saying this have nothing else to do. They do not have jobs, schedules, kids, broken promises, pets, dirty dishes, etc.

Or do they?

Although I try not to, I take myself out of the present quite often. It can be hard to hang in the flow when the reality of life is in major chaos all the time. So, when we are not side-swiped by the daily grind, and with some effort and clarity, the moment is a sure testament to the patience that we are all capable of demonstrating, and the moment can be a nice reminder that the present is a much calmer, kinder place to be.

Life happens. So if we didn’t have to deal with the unpredictable nature of being a normal human, staying present would be easy and this conversation would not be happening. So how do we keep current? It isn’t easy, but it can be done.

The point of being aware of the moment (mindfulness) is to be in tune with what our body and mind are reacting to as we go about the day, even in the carnage—the highs and lows. When we pay attention to our thoughts, words, and deeds, it could possibly shock and or insult our senses until we are able to reel in the magical sensibility (get your awareness on!) and change some negative habits.

Being in the moment means keeping track of the things we are doing and how we are doing them—when we are doing them. We are the GPS of our own being. We have a destination, and we mark every point with acknowledgment because life can change drastically.

 Here are a few makers of mindfulness to try:

1. When you feel that old familiar pang of “I should have” rising, be gentle on yourself. 

Whatever transpired has come and gone—let it go, let it breathe, let it resolve. Let it return and stay in the past where it belongs; it is futile to bring it forward. How many times do you want to relive something? The past is not the present.

2. Be the watcher of your actions and experiences.

Notice how you are feeling as you move through the day. Pay attention to body language, and your own “think and do” patterns. Do you run on auto-pilot, or do you make conscious, deliberate moves. The more we tune in, the less likely something or someone will catch us off guard. Presence of mind is brilliance; it hones the mind and keeps us in check.

3. Cede to having control all the time.

This is the biggest stressor of all, but the minute you give control away is the minute you are in control. You get to flow with situations, not fight them. And even when things are horrid, there is peace and reassurance in knowing that all we can do is all we can do; everything outside of ourselves is beyond fixing.

4. Do not do the math because comparisons kill the moment.

Nothing takes the wind out of our sails quicker than comparing our path to the path of others. There is no way to do this in a mindful, peaceful way. Our spiritual growth is personal. You cannot expect to do, to be, or to have the same results as another person. Stay in your own moment.

5. Change feelings that say “I have to” to “I get to.”

Most importantly, find contentment in what you are doing, no matter what. Believing and being with all we do is in a direct line with mindfulness—spirit—and when believing and being wholeheartedly line up, gratitude fills us up. Yes, it is means having a half full cup. Yes, it is wearing rose-colored glasses, Yes…it is.

Don’t worry about what was behind you or what is in front. When you are living in the moment, those things naturally work themselves out. We are all formed by our experiences; they make us, break us, and bond us. But that is the extent of it. We can either live in acceptance or we can suffer.

If you want peace and piece of mind—remember this Zen proverb:

“Before Enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment chop wood, carry water.”

However, attitude in the moment is everything.

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Editor: Jenna Penielle Lyons

Photo: elephant archives

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