As I type this post I am aware of my little dog, Yuki, sleeping here on the floor in my office. She is sleeping very soundly. As I think about her and what she might be experiencing I realize that she is always in the present moment. Whatever she is doing at any given time she is fully engaged with all of her being.
However educated and evolved we may consider ourselves, most of us are not too experienced at being present. Linear time is a human construct and of course it is very necessary if we want to schedule meetings or catch a flight—so yes, being aware of the time in a past/present/future format is useful and important.
And yet, most—if not all—of our fears and worries are attached to the past (and often show up as guilt and regrets) or to the future (and here show up as fear and anxiety).
How often does your self talk begin with phrases like “Why didn’t I….” or “I should have…” (dwelling on the past), or “What if…” (worrying about the future)…”What if I lose my retirement?”…”What if I never find true love?”…”What if vampires are real and take over the world?”
However real these possibilities are, they are not NOW. And all we really ever have is NOW.
Personal power is NOW. The power to be fearless, to be confident, to be calm and collected, to be aware, to be compassionate, to be authentic, to enjoy abundance, to be grateful, to love, to be loved. That power is NOW.
If you are in the midst of a trying circumstance, staying present as much as possible will empower you to make the best of a difficult experience.
Here are ten tools to help you be present:
1. Notice the temperature in the room.
2. Notice how your clothes feel on your skin.
3. See if you can sense the energy running through your body.
4. Scan your body: what does the back of your neck feel like right now? How about your hands? Your feet?
5. Are your shoulders hunched up to your ears? (This is called “bracing” and even a slight amount of bracing signifies a great deal of stress. You may be holding your shoulders a few millimeters higher than relaxed and it may be imperceptible to anyone else, but you will feel it when you consciously relax them. So, relax your shoulders, let them drop.)
6. Is there a lot of light in the room? Is it cloudy outside?
7. What do you hear right now?
8. If you are eating or drinking something become acutely aware of the taste, the color, and the feeling. (How many times do we slam down our meals while multi-tasking?)
9. Breathe. You can take three deep breaths in 30-seconds. Breathe deep, counting 5-seconds on each inhale and 5-seconds on each exhale. While you breathe, really listen to your breath, feel it in your body.
10. Think of one thing that you are profoundly grateful for in this moment, now try to appreciate it a tiny bit more.
And speaking of being grateful….I am very grateful for all of you who faithfully read this blog (readers in twelve countries so far!!)
These tools take practice, but if you begin to use them consistently I guarantee that you will lessen the amount of stress you experience. I would love to hear about your experiences with these tools once you try them out.
Here’s to being present, and being empowered,