A few nights ago, I found myself wide awake with my mind running about a decision I will have to make in April. Yes, you read that right. I don’t have to make this decision for SEVERAL MONTHS and here I was worried about it. I was sacrificing my present need for sleep for a future that isn’t happening any time soon 🤦🏽♀️.
One of my practices over the last few years has been the practice of being and staying present. This is not easy for me. I’m not a fan of surprises. I don’t like the unexpected. So, I often have a plan and a backup plan for things in my life. On really good days I even have a backup to my backup plan 😂.
A few years ago, though, I found myself in a situation where no matter how hard I tried, my plans NEVER worked out. Every single time, without fail, I’d plan something, a backup plan firmly in place. Then something completely unexpected happened and my plans were out the window. I finally got the message and for a while, I stopped planning things at all.
Now, I try to make plans and I hold those plans loosely so that if something needs to change it can. The truth is there are too many variables at play that I can’t see to know exactly how a situation might unfold. Trying to anticipate what comes next robs me of what is happening right here, right now.
Two things have helped me learn the magic of staying present in THIS moment.
The first has been my meditation practice. I started the practice of meditating back in 2013.
The biggest mistake I see people make with meditation is trying to have no thoughts. This is not possible, at least not for those of us who aren’t spending hours upon hours meditating.
The goal of meditation is to not become attached to a thought. The best visual I can offer is to imagine yourself sitting at the bottom of the ocean watching the fish go by. You simply observe them as they go but you don’t reach up and grab for one.
When you’re meditating, you will have thoughts, but you want to simply observe them. When you notice yourself thinking about the grocery list or some other random thought, you use a word or phrase to release the thought. The word or short phrase helps to disconnect you from the thought.
This letting go of thoughts during my meditation translated to my being able to let things go more easily outside of my daily practice. Being able to let things go helps me to stay more present.
I’ve not been meditating as much lately which no doubt explains my middle of the night brain ramblings.
The other helpful thing is mantras. Mantras have served me in different ways in my life. Specifically, to help me stay present, the question “what’s the next decision I have to make?” has been super helpful.
By focusing on the decision that is in front of me TODAY, I immediately drop into the here and now. Sometimes, I turn the question into a statement and say, “that’s not the decision in front of me right now.”
Either one of those has worked to stop my monkey mind when it’s running too far into the future. This is what I used the other night and it worked to quiet my mind.
The magic of the present
Here’s the thing, ALL of life’s magic is unfolding in the present moment. It’s not in some imagined future or even in some longed-for past, no matter how beautiful an experience might have been. There is beauty and magic right here even when right here is hard.
Maybe it’s the delight of a child’s laugh, the intoxicating smell of a flower, or the magnificence of a star-filled sky. There is so much to be found in the present, if we can be still enough to experience it.
You can’t predict the future and the past is gone. All you truly have is THIS moment in time. Today, I invite you to find a way to anchor more into the present. Be it with meditation, a mantra, or some other tool. Use whatever you can to help you discover what’s waiting for you HERE.
Here’s to you finding new and unexpected joys in the present.
From my heart to yours,