How to live in the present in three easy steps
After walking by this young tree this morning, I wasn't sure if spring brings out the eloquence of nature, or if it's the other way around. Either way, it was a treat to experience. To be so grounded that you can can appreciate tiny moments of beauty is your birthright. Are you claiming it?
We are all offered small miracles everyday but many of us don't see or are able to enjoy them because we are so anxious about the future or regretting the past. Being grounded in the now, as in the right now, has many advantages, most importantly, to experience being fully alive. It's also really good for your health. Here are three easy practices to help you live in the present:
Most of us concern ourselves with things that haven't happened--the future-- and waste vital energy on what could potentially happen as supposed to what is in front of us.
Worry, as my Buddhist friend says, is poison that we pump into our veins. Researchers have shown that she is correct-- worry causes stress, bad stress, and we know that stress wreaks havoc on your health--both physical and mental health. The future for so many worry warts is always filled with hardcore bad scenarios. What about if you imagine positive outcomes for a change? Yes, I drank the positive psychology Kool Aid and life is much better for it.
Tip: Stop working and play. Take a walk around the block, breathe deeply. Take in everything that is happening around you. Find a park bench, a stoop, a coffee shop.
Be still. Breathe deeply. As you inhale know that you are breathing in new air and new air means new ideas and possibilities. As you exhale, know that you are pushing out old air. With each new breath, you are renewed. Relaxing your brain and letting it wander will increase your creative force and will let you see more clearly what it is that is worrying you. It will let you:
-Find out what is causing the worry.
-Find a plan of action
-Do whatever you can to "fix" it
-Let it go
You cannot control the outcome only the what you put into it. Worrying about the outcome will not change whatever is worrying you.
Regret won't change a thing:
The other reason why we fail to see the tiny miracles in the present is because we spend far too much time on the past replaying old shit, especially, old stuff we regret. For some of us, the only way to stop the replay button is to get professional help, as in talk therapy or medication. There are a lot of taboos around both, and far too many people live in pain, shackled by mental illness. Getting help is a sign of greatness. This the thing: no matter who much time we spend going back and replaying our past, it won't change the present.
Tip: Grow up. Woman up. Get help if you cannot do it by yourself. There is no shame if a girls game if she is smart enough to know when to get someone to help. Talk to a friend. Call your healthcare provider, a spiritual counselor. But reach out and talk to someone.
The one thing you will learn after all this is said and done is this: You have have to accept to live with your choices.
-Stop judging your choices.
-Learn from them. See the lessons in them.
A shift in perspective will help.
-Trust. Accept the "good" and the "bad" choices you have made.
Pick up the phone, write a letter to the person, or people that you have hurt. And after you finish, add you to that list.
Apologize to you
Write a letter apologizing to you and forgive yourself for the errors you have made. Promise yourself to do better next time.
Static people have static lives:
If you are not doing much in the way of exercise, it might explain why you feel like shit. And the only way to change that is to get off the couch and move your body.
Dance, take yoga, bike, hike, jog, walk, have sex. Our bodies were made for all those things. And this is a fact: getting your heart rate up increases your endorphins, those feel good hormones that are so good for us.
Tip: Figure out what works for you and incorporate that into your daily life. It's that simple. A good pair of walking shoes and its a wrap.
Enlist a friend
Friends that work out together are healthier. Buddy work outs keep you accountable and increase the changes that you won't slack off.
Being grounded will help you open up your heart to the beauty that surrounds you in the present. And even in the biggest shit hole of a mess, there is always something, some tiny something, that is filled with light and beauty. I hope you get to see it. And in the process, don't miss the eloquence of the trees in your midst.