I’m either stuck in the past or fixated on the future. The idea of living in the moment seems to come and go in the blink of an eye. I’m trying to be in the “Now” but my mind has other plans. Even when I’m meditating my thoughts swim over waves of nostalgia or conjure up fears of an unknown future.
The only time I find myself living in the present is when I’m dancing. My mind somehow is impervious to thinking about anything else except the music I’m listening to. It’s very freeing not thinking about anything in particular. I’m not even thinking of what dance move is next. I just let my body move to the rhythm and feel relaxed and energized at the same time.
Things that I think I should be worried about melt away. I sing along with the band and for that moment I am completely present. Inhibitions, insecurity, and feelings of inadequacy simply do not exist. How can I dance through life? As much as I want to dance to the 80’s music playing in the supermarket, I do not.
What I have done is read a wonderful book by Eckhart Tolle, titled “The Power of Now.”
“If you really want to know your mind, the body will always give you a truthful reflection, so look at the emotion, or rather feel it in your body. If there is an apparent conflict between them, the thought will be the lie, the emotion will be the truth. Not the ultimate truth of who you are, but the relative truth of your state of mind at that time.” Tolle, Eckhart
Here are three ideas to help you stay in the present.
1. Instead of fighting with my thoughts, I let them happen. I am able to stop being bombarded with crazy, nonsensical ideas and look to see the cause of them. I realize more and more, the importance of being aware, and taking a moment to understand what is bothering me. Why am I ruminating over things that have already happened and a future that hasn’t happened at all? What am I so afraid of? When we stop to take a deep breath and answer these questions, we understand ourselves a little better.
2. I know I have a choice. I can either let the fear take over or embrace this negative emotion and turn it into motivation. This is what will anchor me to the present. I stop worrying and instead look to what I need to be doing for myself. I write out a list of what I want to get done. This way it’s out of my head and onto paper that I can look at. It gives me a feeling of control when I’m feeling overwhelmed and powerless.
3. I make sure I schedule in a workout. Keeping my mind and body connected alleviates the undue anxiety. I step away from the computer to take in a few deep breaths. I will relax my neck and shoulders. If the sun is out, I’ll take a walk. To be honest, I’ll take a walk in the rain too. Sitting in the park, the woods or at the beach is a great way to live in the present. It’s a way to focus on what is really important in life right here, right now.
I’ve learned that everything has a way of working out even when we can’t see how. Understanding all the opportunities life has to offer gives us a sense of hope instead of dread. It’s not easy to stay present all the time, it takes practice. Being aware is the first step to getting yourself to the here and now. To help get you there, appreciate your past and trust your future. Release all the thoughts of what you need to get done by putting pen to paper. Get outside, breathe some fresh air and take a walk.
Dancing will always be my go to move when I want to feel good, even if it means waiting till after I leave the supermarket.