Your natural state is calm, content, and at peace.
Not stressed. Not anxious.
This is an affirmation I’ve repeated to myself a lot lately. To be completely transparent, I’m not very good at being present during each passing moment. I remember my first semester of college I was spacing out in a buzzing auditorium with over 2,000 other freshmen when I heard a guy over the microphone simply say,
“Be where your feet are.”
It’s been five years since that moment and it’s still some of the most influential and profound advice I’ve ever received. It’s so simple but it’s meaning is so complex; it requires complete awareness of self.
We live in a distracted, anxious, busy world. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked up from my own phone to see I’m surrounded by others also mindlessly scrolling through their phones. It’s a modern-day sickness really – to exist outside of our body. A study found that people spend nearly half of their time thinking about something other than what they are presently doing.
So, what exactly are we all thinking about?
I have a theory that the answer can fall into one of two camps:
Things that have already happened, such as regrets, remorse, trying to understand events that have passed, etc…
Things that are going to happen, such as desires for the future, plans, to-do lists, etc..
Either way, we are letting our life slip by from moment to moment. Yesterday and tomorrow are never coming, we only have today. In fact, we will only ever have right now.
I’m guilty of looking forward too often. Of dreaming about my ‘someday’. What is the point in stressing over the life I think I should have instead of the life I actually have (which is great by all accounts)?
“If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can do is be present in the present…gratefully.” – Maya Angelou.
How many times a day do you reach for your phone without a purpose? On a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being at peace and 10 being having a meltdown, where are you at? Anxiety disorders are the leading mental illness in America right now. If being mindful and present can alleviate this, why are we not spreading this message?
Three rituals we can begin to be more present in our own life:
Not to be cheesy, but your life is happening during this very moment. Did you even bother showing up?
Ask yourself, “What is the atmosphere of this moment?” I do this when I find myself distracted to bring my attention to the current moment. The purpose is to quiet your mind, analyze your surroundings, and refocus your energy outwards.
2. Lose the “bigger plan”.
A simple example of this would be doing the dishes. When washing dishes is a part of “cleaning the kitchen” it’s hard to be with that one moment fully. Your conscious mind is prematurely planning out the vacuuming, dusting, and that hour you are going to spend vegging out on the couch when you’re done.
The bigger plan is a bust. Now is for always.
Sometimes it feels like our culture is obsessed with being busy. Busy is not the equivalent to productive. What is in your life that’s negatively occupying your thoughts? How can you alleviate it?
One time I was attending a speech by Bob Goff, one of my favorite writers, and the most striking thing he said was,
“Every year I quit something.”
Let go of the extra weight you are carrying in your life and free up your mind to appreciate what you do have.
I hope that experimenting with these practices will help some of you on your way to taking each moment of your life as it comes.
Author: Sierra Rogers
Author Bio: Living in Austin, TX and pursuing a life of complete health – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. My destination is not a place but a state of mind:
Link to social media or website: http://www.instagram.com/si_shell