Image by August Finster Used under a creative commons license
What is this very moment - the one we're in right now - like for you?
In his book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle describes how we are not truly present when we are thinking about the future. We are not being, we ARE not when we are thinking about 'what’s happened' or 'what’s going to happen'. We cannot be present, and we are missing life; it’s passing us by.
I caught myself falling into that trap this week. I’m so focused on my to do list, preparing for Italy, working out what I need to do today, this week and all the things I MUST do before I go, that I’m forgetting about NOW, this moment.
'This moment' is about breathing deeply to ground me. It's taking two minutes to close my eyes, stand still, and let the sunshine warm me up. It's giggling at silly conversations with my housemate about cars and science and windows.
When I bring myself back to the present and stop to feel, the sweet energy of life returns and I lose the freak out I’m having about HOW much I have to do and sort, write, edit and design.
It got me thinking, that we are often live with the 'when/then’ conundrum (when I’ve got enough money in the bank, then I’ll relax, when I’ve got my dream job, then I’ll be happy, when I’ve got a boyfriend, then I’ll stop worrying about being alone for the rest of my life etc).
Or the most recent version I caught sneaking around in my head: ‘When I get to Italy…I can stop to enjoy life'.
It's a fallacy.
The truth is, if we don’t learn now how to enjoy the sweetness, we won’t get the feeling we want then. (If you don't know, work out the feeling you want then.)
Even if the situation you’re in now isn’t how you want it to be forever.
Even if it hurts.
Even when we are heading in the direction we want, being present, feeling, inhabiting your body NOW is the most important thing.
Why is this a challenge?
We put too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect.
Yet, we decide our own success, no one else.
We think we have to finish everything before we can relax. We grew up with that idea from the Puritans.
Yet, we don’t have to take it with us any further. Relax when you want to.
We don’t allow ourselves to feel happy in the present. We don’t think we can be happy in the moment.
Yet, we can change this thought. YOU give yourself permission to do this.
We don’t believe we deserve to be happy (maybe 'because other people aren’t' and 'Why should we?').
We’re told: ‘Life isn’t meant to be fun’.
There’s a belief you can challenge, right there. You choose to find the fun, the sweetness, the delicious enjoyment in the moment.
Look around the room you’re in and name 3 things that are WONDERFUL about the now.
I challenged myself to do this, just like I’m challenging you.
Even though I’m living in the big, noisy, grey concrete and often rainy city of London and not yet in Italy:
1. I’m living on a large estate and yet it’s very peaceful. There are children playing but it’s rarely noisy. This soothes my soul when I’m feeling a bit frazzled or have had a long week.
2. We have a balcony which sees the afternoon sun (a personal favourite). I can just step out into a sort of mini paradise. From desk to sun deck in 4 paces.
3. Although I have a ton of chores and work to do, I have the time and space to control my work and prioritise how I want. This is SO precious to me.
That's just three! There are a LOT more I could write.
This thinking, for me, puts a bit of perspective on the planning and execution of tasks in the right order.
Living in the now is HOW we do things. If we approach our lives like a race, it’ll feel like one. If we fully focus in the task, engage every one of our senses and really savour and delight in the moment, we transform the experience.