I like to pride myself on being self-aware, of being grateful, and of being present in the moment. However, while I would like to say this, I know it isn’t alwaystrue.
I have ritual I go through most mornings. Meditation. Yoga. Gratitude. And then my day begins by determining what I need to do today, what can wait until tomorrow, and what I may need to connect with someone else on. This ritual is how I ground myself at the beginning of each day. And the points on my to-do list are my touchstones throughout the day.
And, yet, as the day progresses, I find myself less present in the moment. I lose focus on what I need to do now, and shift my focus to what needs to get done soon. I also think of all the what-ifs. It’s a place of worry, discontent, and limited control (depending on the situation).
Being present is about living in the moment, experiencing what is happening now, and understanding what you feel this second. As I write this, I am aware that my tummy is slightly grumbly (not enough to break for lunch yet); I’m sitting comfortably in my chair (although I do have a slight kink in my neck), and I’m happy to be writing (it’s something I enjoy).
It’s easy to slide down the slippery slope of not being present. After all, there is always that list of household chores that need to be done, or those business tasks that you have put off until later.
When we focus in on the moment and truly become present in what we are doing now, we get things done. We are focused: our energy is targeted toward achieving the one action we are currently working on. And we can achieve great productivity in this place of being present.
So how do you know if you are currently present in the moment? Reflect on what you are thinking about consciously and unconsciously. Focus in on your breathing. Scan your body. Corral your thoughts and let those go that aren’t relevant to what you are working on this second. Keep practising. It takes practice to fine-tune being present.
I recently had an experience at Azadeh Acres with Sharolyn Wandzura of Ears Forward Coaching. We were in the process of meeting her pony “Sweet Georgia Brown” and were going to groom her. As I stepped up to hold up my closed hand to her nose to introduce myself, she stepped back from me. Way back. As far back as she could go. Somewhat taken aback, since she’d stood steady when meeting the other participants, I was surprised and curious about why she was moving away from me.
Sharolyn pointed out that the horse could read whether or not we were fully present in the moment. Sweet Georgia Brown had a clear message for me: my mind was elsewhere! And she was right. My mind was focused on why one of the participants hadn’t yet shown up.
I stopped. Took a couple of deep breaths. Grounded myself and worked on being truly there with the horse. This time when I approached Sweet Georgia Brown, she sniffed my hand and reached out her nose for a gentle scratch. For the remainder of the grooming session, I worked to stay present. Each time I lost focus, Sweet Georgia Brown let me know by shifting away from me.
It was an interesting and eye-opening experience. It really doesn’t take much for us to shift our focus away from the moment we are in – a stray thought, a phone call, a shiny object…
Getting back into the moment takes effort, awareness, reflection, and practice.
Since I’ve started my morning ritual, I’ve been more present and less worried about the what-ifs. As a result, I am getting more done, achieving goals, and crossing things of my to-do list.
What do you do to be present in the moment? And when you stray from being present, how do you bring yourself back? Share your comments below.
This blog post is part of a series highlighting the kinds of conversations that are held in the Align Lab program- a partnership between HIP Strategic Consulting and Ears Forward Coaching. This program is about becoming #wildlysuccessful on our own terms. The Align Lab is about learning to say NO to what we don't want in order to achieve what we DO want. Let us help you listen deeply to yourself, practice speaking your truth, and more consciously align your values with your ideal life.