In the past weeks I have been writing and posting about the bumpiness along our life journey. Fears we face, detours we take, transitions we go through.
At first glance it seems mostly painful and hard work. Because it is. To get where we want to go, there is a fair amount of change we must embrace. And change means moving out of our comfort zone, reaching higher to places where we have never been and do things we have not tried before.
While we navigate through what will be, there is a now we cannot ignore. I have read this sentence a while back from the famous Lao Tzu which says “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present”. It may sound a cliche, though how often do we shift from dwelling into what once were and worrying about what will be?
There is nothing wrong in taking time to reflect about your past experiences as well as getting ready for your future endeavors. If going from one to the other is only what you do though, then most probably you will get stuck in between. And to make it crystal clear, “in between” is indeed the now, the present. Aren’t you missing out? – I dare asking. What are you trying to escape from? Whilst you get lost in between these two worlds, there is a lot happening where you are not taking an active part. A myriad of opportunities you are surely missing out.
Despite of what the past has brought and what the future is yet to bring, how can you make the best out of your current reality? What are you experiencing now that will bring you closer to the next better version of yourself?
It may seem tough or boring to stay in the present. Especially when there are a million things to worry about, sometimes related to negative past experiences, often just suffering in advance. How to deal with it then? Particularly during this uncertain and challenging year which you probably just wish it comes to an end.
Here a few useful strategies to put into place:
1. Stay engaged by single-tasking: Whatever task you are doing – personal or work-related – just do one at a time. Multitasking can seem quite appealing, but it can lead to a sense of non-accomplishment. And if you must do it, then set off a specific time of the day, instead of doing it constantly.
2. Start focused and slowly: Do not rush. Take your time to set your intentions for the day and follow your own rhythm throughout. It will reduce your stress levels while keeping you focused.
3. Remain conscious of your thoughts: Whenever you feel your thoughts are drifting away or you are getting stuck in a worry-loop, use a word or catch-phrase to stop the train of thoughts. Focusing on your breath is quite helpful too.
4. Be aware of your body: Listen to the signs your body gives you. Tuning in into your physical needs whatever they are – stress, pain, hunger – will immediately connect you to the present, enabling you to take better care of yourself.
5. Enjoy the here and now: Take a moment to pause and look around. Listen to your surroundings, the smells around you, the sensations running through you. Stop waiting for something to happen and enjoy what you are experiencing right here, right now.
It takes some practice, so no better time to start than now. Rather than clinging into a waiting mindset you can choose to enjoy the present. It is your choice to be at peace with who you are and where you are.