“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the now the primary focus of your life.” ~Echart Tolle
It’s starting to warm-up and feel like summer. I couldn’t be more excited.
Seemingly overnight, the trees have bloomed, the flowers have blossomed and summer is in the air.
You see, I was beginning to think that here in the Northeast it was never going to warm up. Maybe I was being melodramatic—okay, probably I was—but we had one of the most brutal winters of recent memory and even a couple of weeks ago it was still too chilly for it to feel like spring.
All I could imagine was how nice it was going to feel when the weather warmed up. I felt like I was waiting for something that was never going to happen—even though rationally I knew the weather wasn’t going to stay the same forever.
It reminded me of how we do that with a lot of things in life.
We look ahead to the things we long for and instead of smiling about these future blessings, we act like we’ll never move ahead and instead stay frozen in place.
We know change is inevitable, yet we behave like it’s not.
Sometimes we even see change is on the horizon, just within our reach, but we pretend like it’s a lifetime away, like it will never arrive.
We grow impatient or anxious with waiting for the future instead of being patient, present and happy in the here and now.
Why can it be so challenging to be present in each day? Why do our minds leap ahead of our bodies into the future while our present is unfolding?
Don’t get me wrong. I love thinking ahead, dreaming new dreams and visualizing what’s next. In fact, one of my favorite quotes is: “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions” (Albert Einstein). I love it because I believe it’s true. Our thoughts are powerful and are creating our future.
But I’m discovering there’s a fine line between imagining the future and missing the present. There’s a fine line between being inspired by the future and ignoring the beauty of today. And there’s a very fine line in dreaming up your ideal future while missing the fact that here and now is what matters most since tomorrow is not guaranteed.
We wait for something to arrive and when it does, we barely register the excitement, relief or acceptance we should because our minds are already way ahead of us.
And what’s worse is when we think of the future and it only brings worries, not the thoughts or visions we want to manifest.
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
We know the importance of being present. We hear all the time how critical it is. We see others living robotic lives and we tell ourselves to not be like that. We know being present means being in life fully—in the everyday moments—from the highs like sharing a coffee with a loved one, to the little annoyances like sitting in traffic.
Yet somehow we slip. We slide into the unknown future and reside there a little longer than we should.
So how can we work on this?
Maybe instead of asking ourselves if we are being present—which can be tricky to define—we can ask if we are being attentive.
If we make an effort to focus and pay attention when we catch our minds wandering, it will start to become more and more natural.
Mantra: I am focused and fully noticing my life in this moment. (Tweet that!)
Think about your future. Dream of all the beautiful possibilities you desire. But don’t get so lost in time that you miss right now. Don’t get so caught up in what’s ahead that you don’t have peace in the present.
Thanks for the warmer weather and for the reminder that wishing away time or rushing through the moments isn’t as satisfying as letting time pass in its own natural pace and enjoying every second of it.
After all, your journey is unfolding in perfect, divine order.