– by Wendy Morley, Publisher –
Even as I write the words “live in the present,” I know that they’re only partly true. Plenty of people have got into big trouble thinking only of their enjoyment in the present without care for the future. So straight off the bat I want to be clear that I do not mean to care only about the present. What I mean is to fully be here, in this moment.
Time can be a difficult commodity. You worry about what you did or didn’t do in the past; you worry about what the future holds. And then you focus on getting there, wherever “there” is.
The past is a vast and growing expanse, and the future is a vast and shrinking one. Both of those issues mean sometimes the present gets lost. The problem is, the present is the only thing that truly exists. If you don’t live there, you are not really living your life.
The past has a purpose. It’s there to be learned from, but not to be either pined for or agonized over.
The future is coming, and for that future you have a purpose: to prepare for it (which means, basically, don’t screw up and neglect your responsibilities.)
The present and you have a purpose together, and that is simply to be. Turn off the past and the future (and your phone) and be with the person or people you’re with. Listen to what they’re saying, without letting your mind wander to what you have to get done tomorrow or what happened at work yesterday.
Go for a run and instead of thinking about the half marathon you’ve signed up for, or your work, or your pace, or what you have to do later that day, look around you. Experience that big beautiful world. Feel your strong muscles propel you.
My mother used to always say, “Tomorrow never comes,” and that is so very true. But the problem with tomorrow is, if you’re not allowing yourself to live in the present, it skips right over today and becomes yesterday, and you’ll have never had the chance to experience it.
Here are some tips for living in the present:
1. Limit your possessions. Your possessions tend to possess you; they force you to pay for them, care for them and maybe even live in a bigger place than you need just to have room for them.
2. Get outside. Getting fresh air, going for a walk, working in the earth, enjoying nature, watching waves … these all help to make you feel alive and thriving, and that helps you live in the moment.
3. Let the past go. It holds amazing memories and accomplishments you wish you could bring back again. It also holds regrets, things you wish you’d done differently. But you can’t bring the past back to relive it or change it, so don’t dwell there. Really. Accept it and learn from it and move on.
4. Stop worrying. The concept of worrying sort of makes sense, because it’s like planning. Except it’s planning on a hyper dose of steroids. Which makes it the opposite of sensible or useful. Worrying doesn’t help you figure out what to do; it paralyzes you, making you unable to do anything.
5. Build, create and make things grow. Nothing brings you into the moment like creating. Take a woodworking course and build a small piece of furniture. Create a sculpture or painting. Plant seeds and grow an herb or vegetable garden. Doing this type of fundamental creating brings you into the moment in a most patient and inspirational way.
Wendy has spent much of her life writing about things that improve readers’ health and well being. She has no patience for negativity, shaming or dictating how others “should” be, but rather aims to help people become both true to themselves and happy to be alive.