“Nothing has happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.” – Eckhart Tolle
Do you ever find yourself just going through the motions? You are suddenly halfway through, or maybe all the way through your day and you come to the realisation that you were on autopilot the entire time? What did you even do? What did you experience? How did you feel? What did you see? What did you hear? Everything was so rehearsed and so automatic. You weren’t present where you were. Things were happening around you, but you were so busy thinking about a million other things or scenario running that you completely missed what was happening right in front of you. Can you relate?! I can!
Part of living an epic life is living your life with purpose and intent. When you come to the realisation that every moment matters, your life will change for the better in miraculous ways. Each moment is just as valuable as the next. And when you look, and I mean really look at what is before you, that is when you experience the miracles. For example, how many miracles have you missed because you have been so engrossed in your mobile phone that you completely missed something incredible that is unfolding right in front of you?!
One of the first instances that I finally woke up to the extent that I was living the majority of my life on autopilot was when I was living in Bermuda. Towards the end of my tenure on that beautiful island paradise, I lived right on the water’s edge and had one of the most magnificent coastline commutes on my scooter into work everyday. Everyday I scooted myself back and forth, but I was usually so fixated on what I had to do once I got to work, or psyching myself up for another manic day, or thinking about the emails that were waiting for me upon my arrival that I would have to respond to, or anticipating the next ¨fire-drill¨ emergency at the office that I never really noticed what was around me. I never really ¨saw¨ the scenery. I was completely ignorant to the beauty that was all around me.
On one particular morning, for no apparent reason, I finally took notice. I mean really took notice. And on this morning I saw the most spectacular sunrise (Bermuda is bursting with the pinch me pleasers!). It was impossible not to notice how spectacular the sunrise was. Truly breathtaking. It blew me away. So much so that I spent a good five minutes before I got on my scooter just staring out into the horizon repeating wow to myself. I was in a trance. And in that moment, I realised something…
¨Today I see this. I have lived on this beautiful paradise and drove to and from work along the this coastline on a daily basis for years now, how many days like this have I missed because I have never been present enough to experience it? And I mean really experience it, no quick glances or snaps. But truly relishing in the moment. Probably hundreds!¨
My heart sank. What a pity to miss out on so much beauty. And the most ironic thing of it all was that I always told myself that while I wasn´t really in love with my job, it was a small price to pay to be able to live in paradise…but wait…are you actually living in paradise, Mel?!
Once this realisation set in, it really made me question how I was living my life. Clearly I was failing to miss the amazing miracles that were right in front of my face because of constantly being everywhere else but where I actually was. If I wasn’t scenario running the future, I was rehashing the past. And if I was in the present moment at all, those moments were fleeting and few and far between.
As powerful co-creators of our experience here, we are solely responsible for our experience. But in order to co-create our experience and be attuned to receiving all of the countless blessings that our abundant universe so kindly bestows upon us, we actually have to be here to witness them. You can´t be thinking about that talk with your boss yesterday (hate to break it to ya…but that is over now. Gone!). Or stressing about all of the things that could happen tomorrow (tomorrow is a new Now…there are so many things that have to happen before it arrives…it´s impossible for you to forecast it! So why worry?!). You have to be here Now. Open your eyes and see what is actually before you in this moment.
But hey, I get it. It´s hard to always live in the present, and sure, we’re human, sometimes we get stuck dwelling on the past, or getting a bit antsy about the future. There is nothing wrong with a bit of planning! It´s all about balance. But it´s important for us to remember that we really only can control ourselves and make decisions for us in the current moment. Sure we can work towards a desired outcome, but we actually have no control over how that will come. The only thing that we can do right now, is take one step, in this moment, towards that desired outcome and then just see how it plays out. No angst. No worry. Why stress yourself scenario running about all the things that could happen?! There are a million things that could happen! We all know that they very rarely do anyway…that´s a whole lot of wasted energy stressing over nothing!
In my quest to bring back more presence to my life and begin living my life with purpose and witnessing the miracles of life as they occur, I’ve made a few adjustments to how I live my day. Every journey begins with one step, and reaching a state of unwavering presence is certainly more of a marathon than a sprint! So in light of this, here are a few daily mindfulness practices to help you regain your presence and begin living your life with purpose. And live like you mean it!
+ Everything you do should be done with intent. Fulfill each action with meaning. Remember that there is no task that is better than the other. Your life is not a dress rehearsal. Every moment matters. All moments are equal. This moment is all that we have. Enjoy it. Savour it. Learn from it, if you can. You never know what the next moment may bring…
+ When you eat, eat like you mean it. Look at your food. Look at the colours. Smell the aroma. Chew it slowly. Feel the texture. How does it taste? Be grateful for what is before you on your plate. Bless it, if that feels good to you. Eat without distractions. Eat in a calm environment. If you can, eat seated. Don’t look at your phone and don’t turn the TV on. Focus on what you are doing. Right now, you are eating. Have eating be your sole purpose for that moment. You will get so much more enjoyment out of it, I promise! And because you are eating mindfully (and intuitively), you will most likely eat less (avoid overeating). When we eat when we are distracted or not present in the moment, more often than not, we eat on autopilot and don’t even realise that we are eating! Ever nail an entire bag of Doritos and wonder to yourself, what the hell happened there?! I only had a few handfuls…right?!?!
+ When you move, move with intent. Feel your body as you exercise. Feel where you feel tight. Feel where you can push yourself. Enjoy moving, sweating and detoxing your body. Move in a way that matters to you. In a way that you enjoy. If you are running, be present running. What are you seeing as you are passing by? How does your body feel? Are you feeling warm? Are you feeling tired? How is your breath feeling? Are you gasping? Do you need to ease up? Or are you feeling strong? Can you crank it up a notch? Stay centred and in tune with how you are feeling as you exert yourself. I guarantee that you will not only have more of a beneficial practice but you will get more out of it too (especially enjoyment!).
+ No matter how mundane the task, have it be your sole focus and purpose in that moment. Try to avoid multi-tasking as much as possible. Ladies, I know this one will be especially difficult for you as we are well versed in doing something, while thinking about something else at the same time. Yes, it is beneficial and a great use of our time (in a way) to do that, but we are truly missing out on what is in front of us when we do. And more often than not, are not seeing other options, or things that are so clear right before our very own eyes. So with that being said, even with the simplest of activities, like brushing your teeth, focus on brushing your teeth. Make a point of mentally acknowledging that this is what you are doing. And go all in. Brush them like you mean it. Feel how the toothbrush feels in your mouth, what the toothpaste tastes like, etc. Don´t think about everything you have to do once you get to work or how you need another cup of caffeine to get going…just be with yourself brushing your teeth. Bring simplicity, stillness and presence to your tasks. It will make you feel clearer and less frantic. Wisdom comes in your presence.
+ When you are speaking to someone, focus on what they are saying. Look at them in the eye. Avoid distractions. No mobile phones out. No TV on. Your purpose right now is talking to your friend. Stay present. Don´t anticipate the next thing they will say or race around in your mind at how you will respond to them should they ask you about xyz. Allow the conversation to flow naturally. Allow them to fully share and express how they feel. Let them finish their train of thought. Focus on your breathe while the person is speaking and let your intuition guide you in how you respond to them. It will assist you in becoming more authentic in your expression. Don´t think about directing the conversation towards a certain outcome. Avoid listening for ¨what you want to hear¨. Allow yourself to hear it all! It will naturally progress as it needs to. Allow it to be and flow in the moment. Allow it to present itself just as it needs to. Listen. Only by consciously and mindfully listening will we ever learn something new.
+ Allow yourself to feel. Part of being present is experiencing everything as it occurs in the moment. Without judgement or interference. This also includes being present with your emotions as they present themselves. Feeling the positive emotions is easy. Love is intoxicating, joy is bountiful and happiness is contagious. Who doesn´t love all that juicy goodness?! But the negative ones…they’re a doozy! And aren’t always the most comfortable of feelings to experience but I cannot stress how important it is to let your feelings have a voice. Sit with them. Allow them to be. Let them integrate and then dissipate. Only then, can we move past our pain or hurt. When we stuff down our negative emotions, as most of us inevitably do, they are stored within our bodies and lay dormant until another interaction triggers them again within us for expression and feeling. If suppressed again, they will continue to accumulate and either result in an almighty reaction (perhaps a bit unwarranted considering the ¨direct trigger¨…ever have the floodgates open?! You couldn’t stop crying even if your life depended on it!) or could also manifest in some form of dis-ease down the line. Feeling is part of the human experience. There is an enormous range of emotions that can be felt. Feel them all. Think of them as a sensory rainbow. It really is a privilege. Without the existence of the darker emotions, the exuberance and bliss that is felt during moments of pure joy and ecstatic happiness would be pale in comparison.
+ Return to your breath. Make a conscious effort to return to your breath on a daily basis. It is when we get still that the real magic happens. The loud squeak of the ego ceases and the inner wisdom and guidance of the Higher Self takes over. It is in this place of internal stillness where we can seek our answers, obtain clarity and find inner peace. Life gets hectic, a little cray cray at times, so finding your inner zen and balance is a full-proof way for you to respond and create your experience in a way that is most authentic and true to you. So take your daily mental shower (aka meditate) or just make a concerted effort to focus on your breath for a fixed period of time on a daily basis. I promise, it´s a total game changer!
Life is unfolding right now in this moment. It´s not happening yesterday or tomorrow or in an hour. It´s Now. This is your life. Be here. Experience it. Feel it. Allow it to unfold as it needs to. Live your life with meaning and purpose. Don’t settle for a string of barely-there moments. You deserve a life bursting with colour, presence and purpose.
Do you have any other tried and true ways to stay in the moment? I’d love to hear from you!
Thank you for being YOU!