Live in the NOW!
For a majority of people in the US, this is not an easy thing to do. The stress of money, health, family, and just everyday things makes it hard to enjoy living in the now. I used to be good at living in the now. But that was before I had responsibilities and was young and naïve.
As I have gotten older, I’ve takin on more responsibilities, and have dealt with personal hardships and medical issues. It’s easy to get caught up in things that are ultimately mundane in the big picture. Having a beautiful wife and two’s beautiful stepdaughter’s keeps me on my toes, but I’m also aware that it hasn’t been an easy journey. I’ve always been a patient person when it comes to life. But it’s been tough lately because when you set goals and you push for them, you want to see some sort of immediate gratification. That’s usually never the case. I have to keep reminding myself that the work that I’m doing right now, I may not see the benefits of for months and even years to come. We’re living in a society where instant gratification is not only normal, but expected.
So What happened to the fruits of labor from hard work? It’s still there…
I believe the face of the work has changed. I have never been more open in my life about ideas to better myself and my family. That’s why learning to live in the NOW is such an important part of my conscious development and living a meaningful life.
When we work, we fantasize about a vacation, and when we are on vacation, we worry about work piling up. We dwell on invasive thoughts and worry about things that haven’t happened yet. It’s a Vicious cycle!
Heres a couple things I’m doing to help me live in the now…
1. Get Outside!
I love being outdoors. Winter for me is snowboarding. I like to take a couple moments, lay in the snow and listen to the wind blowing through the trees. I do this to decompress and meditate momentarily. During the summer, I love mountain biking. I’m fortunate that I can ride my bike to Work everyday. It too is my escape from the daily stresses. Again, I love being outside as much as I can.
So, What do you enjoy doing outside? Take a moment and think about the activities that you sometimes do or haven’t done for years and write them down. I post quotes and ideas on my bathroom mirror to look at them daily and remind myself to work towards them.
So this is Easer said than done right?! Well If your in a rut where it feels like work is all your doing, maybe it’s time to start looking at balancing the other parts of your life. Making time for doing the things that are important to you in your life. You have to start some where!
2. Take a deep breath!
It sounds dumb but taking that moment to breath and feel your surroundings is therapeutic. Forcing you to stop and take a moment and slow down. I have learned to do this more often than not. When I’m driving and I come to a red light, when I’m about to get into very dirty work at my JOB. It also helps keep my ego in check by taking those awkward or stressful events at face value with less emotion. I take the time to realize and be conscious of my negative emotions. They do creep in and over time, I have become aware that the only way that they can effect me is if I let them. And breathing helps me deal with anxiety when it starts to creep in.
3. Cultivating Mindfulness
Mindfulness isn’t all about trying to improve yourself, its about realizing where you already are and act towards others. It also grants a whole host of benefits. It helps reduce stress, boosts immune function, lower blood pressure and even helps patients cope with diseases like cancer.
While in he hospital, I was the boy in the bubble. I couldn’t help but think what people were saying about me. Oh I feel sorry for him, that poor guy, exc… it was really heavy and stressful. Then I had an “ahah” moment while my immune system was at its most vulnerable. That helped me understand why I didn’t have to care what others thought. I mean, I was potentially on my death bed, feeling sorry for myself. And that moment is where everything outside of my little pressurized room and my life didn’t matter any more. My family and loved ones were what’s most important.
I’ve taken that approach to every other part of my life. And I stop and take a deep breath when I start to feel anxious.
4. Loose track of time/awareness of the moment
This comes back to why I like to be outside as much as possible.
How can you be living in the moment when your not fully aware of the moment? Being so intently focused on what your doing that your unaware of the passage of time. When I go out for some laps on my snowboard, I’m concentrating on my turns, enjoying friends or family that I’m riding with and of course safety. I might go for a hike and get away from the crowds and go explore, looking for powder. I always take some moments when I get to a good overlook and take in the sights.
Being able to enjoy the moment and appreciate while reflecting on it is where value is at. Now thats living in the now!!!
5. Put down the phone
I’ve been consciously working on not having my phone in front of me for most social encounters, meetings and discussions. One good example is putting my phone on the kitchen counter or coffee table while the family and I eat dinner. This makes it much less tempting to pick up during dinner and makes me engage on a more philosophical level. By doing this, I’m leading by example. I’ve been noticing a slow change towards the rest of my family doing the same. My youngest step daughter, Kalina has asked me to take her phone from her at night so she isn’t so tempted to browse the internet. Seeing this change happen over time tells me that I’m achieving a desired result. Is it manipulating, you betcha. But for good.
I challenge you to take 15 minutes and be mindful of where your at this moment. Clear your head of everything that is going on in your life. Take a deep breath and let your self live in the now.