Stop Living in the Past & the Future
July 17th, 2012
The other day I was treating myself by getting a long-overdue massage. I don’t know about you but I always feel like massages are never long enough. Half-way through the treatment I started to worry about whether or not the massage therapist was going to work enough on my shoulders which are always tense. I didn’t want to say anything but I also didn’t want her to overlook them.
Instead of being in the moment and just enjoying the rest of the massage, I was worrying. And then when she did start working on my tense shoulders I started thinking that I should stop worrying and just enjoy the moment. My mind then started to formulate a blog post.
Needless to say the massage was soon over and I hadn’t been able to appreciate it and relax fully. I was so focussed on worrying and planning that I had missed the entire point of being there. And I fully appreciate the irony that I was not living in the moment when I was thinking about blogging about needing to be in the moment.
There are so many times we’re not fully engaged in our day-to-day life. Sometimes I’ll be at work and wishing that I was home with my son and wondering what’s left in the fridge that I can use to make dinner. When I am home, I sometimes get distracted when I start to think about all the work I still have to do that evening.
An anonymous quote puts it so perfectly when it says, “If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is.”
Not only does being distracted take away from being able to enjoy the moment it usually leads to trying to multitask which has been shown to increase stress and actually decrease productivity.
Eckhart Tolle wrote an excellent book called the The Power of Now all about this idea. One phrase I underlined in the book and think of often is, “Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry — all forms of fear — are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”
Being conscious of needing to be in the moment is the key to mindful living. When you find yourself thinking about the future or past, stop and take a few deep breaths to help you re-center yourself in the moment.
Look at your surroundings and remind yourself to live in the present. If you find yourself thinking of work when you are with your kids stop yourself and bring yourself back into the moment. When you are at work thinking about what you need to pick up for dinner, write it down and then bring yourself quickly back to the task at hand. Commit yourself to the event at hand and appreciate the moment for what it is.
In what situations do you find it hard to focus and be in the moment? How do you bring yourself back to your current surroundings?
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