Just be in the moment you say? What does that actually mean? To be in ‘the moment’? Should I be feeling something more? Something less? Should my mind stop? Should it be in hyper drive?
The first time I heard of ‘being in the moment’ I was so confused. I remember it was at the beginning of a yoga class, the teacher reminded us - if our mind started to wander during practice to ‘just’ focus on your breath and be in the moment. Now I understand focusing on my breath, I can visualize my breath coming in and out and the energy it is releasing, because breath is real. It’s a tangible item you can feel and see (if it’s cold enough that is). But living in the moment? I can’t put a visualization to this. So after seeing and hearing this saying over and over again as it has been gaining its popularity, I needed answers.
So I did what any young woman would do - I turned to Oprah :)
Oprah has a podcast called Super Soul Conversations. Oprah speaks my language. She is straight to the point with a side of sass and humour. Love that woman…anyways…back to the point. I scrolled through her podcast list and found a 10 part series with Eckart Tolle. Eckhart is one of the greatest spiritual thinkers of our time and he also speaks my language. Very clear, concise and anytime I read or listen to him you can see me doing a lot of head nodding and verbal “oh ya, totally, hmmm-hm”. He has 2 fantastic books; “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth: Awakening your Life's Purpose”. So you take the amazing Oprah and spiritual Eckart - you’ve got the best sandwich conversation for Jenny to figure some shit out.
I think that the 2 things that make us stray away from living in the absolute present moment is Worrying and Regretting. It seems near impossible to give up these two emotions as we have been feeling them our whole life. But once we understand that they are not necessities and they actually serve no purpose and do no good, we can let go of them by practicing living in the moment. The key word here is practice. Think about how many years you have been practicing worrying and regretting. Now we substitute these old habits with new habits. I’ll give you the strategies that I have used that have allowed me to come back to 'living in the moment'.
To Worry “to give way to anxiety of unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.”
We have a choice, because we have the power over our mind. When you worry, you are choosing to worry. I’m aware that many situations in life drive worry out of us, but once again, we are choosing to worry about A,B and C. We are letting the emotion of worry take over our minds and eventually our bodies. A perfect example is lying in bed at night trying to fall asleep as your mind races with to-do lists and upcoming responsibilities. We worry. Of course we worry. This is where I want you to replace this habit with a new habit. Think about what is actually real. Touch your pillow and say “this is my pillow, it is made with down feathers, the pillow sheet is made with cotton, wow it’s soft. This is my mattress, it is supporting me for my rest, this is my night stand, it is made with oak and painted with varnish to make it shiny…” I know it sounds crazy, but what this habit will create is bringing your awareness and your mind back to what is factual and what is real - NOW & HERE. That is being present. That is living in the present moment. As you practice this your habit of worrying before bed will dissipate.
To Regret “to feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over something that has happened or has been done.” aka the past. aka, you have no control over it now.
I’m going to repeat myself here - we have the choice to allow our minds to go to the thought of regret. I understand regret can be a part of a process, usually to morn over loss or missed opportunities, but if we change the way we view these losses and missed opportunities we will no longer feel the sad feeling of regret. We will now look at these losses or missed opportunities as lessons. Lessons that you had to learn to be the person you are right now, right here. We will not view them as good or bad lessons, just simply lessons that allowed us to move forward with life and become stronger and smarter. When you take a course in school, you learn many things. Your mind becomes wiser. Life is filled with self taught courses. We are so fortunate for this or else life would be at a stand still. The more you do, the more courses you take, the more you know, the stronger your mind becomes. The next time you’re mind drifts to a missed opportunity or a loss and the emotion of regret begins to rise throughout the body, shift the mind to what lesson you learned through this and what personality traits did you gain from this that has gotten you to here, right now, this moment.
Perhaps you're sitting on the bus on your way to work regretting a missed opportunity of a past promotion. Now bring your attention and thoughts back to the bus, where you are sitting; it’s 7:41am, I am wearing my favourite new pants, I am 42 years old, I have brown hair, the man next to me kind of smells, etc. Remember you have the power over your mind. Not the other way around. The best way to redirect your mind it by taking over, and it starts with bringing your awareness back to the present moment. It’s all about retraining your thinking patterns.
When you realize that you have the power over your mind, how you think and what you think, life will become simple. If you don’t want to worry, don’t. If you wish you didn’t regret, don’t regret. It sounds simple, and to be honest it is, the difficult part is changing your thought process habits. You cannot stop habits, you can only change them. You must replace old habits with new habits and practice these new habits until they become subconscious in your daily life.
Next time you read a meme or hear someone say “live in the now” you’ll have a better idea of what they mean, hopefully.
Feeling weak, anxious and unconnected to my body lead me to start exercising. I joined a dance class once a week and after every dance class I had a glow about me, and it wasn't just from the sweat that I built up in class, it was something more. I realized it was the endorphins that were being produced from the physical activity I was doing. That was 13 years ago. Since then I have devoted my career life to helping other humans, like yourself, kick butt in their health and fitness goals. If you're looking for a helping hand or not even knowing where you should start... I would be more than honoured to help!