The Pricelessness of Being Present – 8 Tips For Being In The Now

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Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment… Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life – and see how life starts suddenly to start working for you rather than against you. – Eckhart Tolle

I have been reflecting on an experience I had this past week. I noticed that I have been busy going pretty strongly in multiple directions, and being very busy keeping up with daily life and relationships, as well as all the steps to research and start my fledgling food manufacturing biz.

Last week I was making multiple batches of sweet potato chips, adjusting the flavoring and the ratio of the spices in an effort to make the most delicious variety I could come up with. As part of that, I was slicing the final chunk of the very last potato for the very last batch of the week, but was having a really difficult time with the slicer wanting to slice it for some reason. I kept adjusting the angle, the position, etc and finally just cut the chunk into two smaller pieces to help out with the handling, and I was really ready to be done with it already… and a little frustrated. It was at that exact moment that I tried again and my hand went right into the slicer! Big ouch!!

I ended up shaving off the tip of my thumb and nail as well as the knuckle of my pointer finger (which was bent holding the potato at the time).

I happened to be home alone at the time, so hurried and wrapped a paper towel around my knuckle (I was unaware of the thumb injury at the time), and started searching the house for an herbal concoction I had used years before that is really similar to getting stitches. It was then that I noticed the additional amounts of blood on my thumb and figured out that it was not getting on there from the pointer finger. Fortunately, shortly thereafter, I found the herbs needed to make the blend and was able to put together a sufficient amount of them to doctor my wounds and get the bleeding stopped – they still hurt though!!

It is now 3 days later and they are both feeling much better – as long as I don’t hit them on anything! They are still sore to the touch but seem to be healing nicely. I have not been able to see the knuckle cut yet as the herb bandage does not want to come off of it completely and I don’t want to disturb the healing going on underneath it. The thumb packing came all the way off and looks much better but is still healing so I put a new application of the herbs on it and a new bandage as well.

Now that I am down the road a few days, I have made the commitment that I am only using the slicer/mandoline while wearing some high-powered, cut-resistant gloves and have already ordered a couple pairs. But I have also been thinking about how we get into certain frames of mind that allow these kinds of things to happen.

It also made me think about how damage is done in relationships in sort of the same way. We might be tired, frustrated, having high amounts of stress lately, not feeling well, have a headache, feeling overwhelmed, not been being totally honest about things, etc, and therefore not operating from an optimal, fully charged, present and centered place. This can apply to your intimate relationship, parenting situations, co-worker/boss interactions, with the checker at the store, or even more significantly, with ourselves.

In the end it seems that the better we take care of ourselves, and as parents, guide the same for our kids (making sure they get regular and sufficient rest, are eating really healthy most of the time, know they are safe and loved, etc.), the better we are able to be there for everyone else in our life. It also seems to reduce the quantity of really traumatic events from happening, or if they do, they don’t affect us the same way. We are stronger, more resilient and are more likely to see the whole thing through more optimistic eyes.

In the end, it seems there are basically only three things we can focus on.

1 – The past. You know, rehashing things we think we didn’t do just right, things we felt embarrassed about, possibly even wishing we could do them differently, things we are angry about, or even yearning for times in the past rather than our current life.

2- The future. This includes things you are worried about – possible undesirable outcomes, attachments to how things will turn out and any accompanying fears; concern about making mistakes and yearning for amazing things to happen.

3- The present. Focusing our mind completely on where we are right now, what we are currently doing in this moment.

It seems to be part of our nature or the human experience that we will spend time in each of these places, but it also seems that when we are able to cultivate the habit and strength to be in the here and now most of the time we are much more peaceful, loving, and patient. Certainly there is some benefit to be gained from reflecting on things that have happened in the past and the lessons we have learned, but it seems most beneficial to take note of those things and move on rather than rehashing them again and again or worse, bringing us the same pain over and over. Who benefits from that?

Similarly, contemplating the future and have benefits for planning and noting preferences to be taken into account while doing the planning, which can assist in creating your desired outcome, but stressing over it again and again can become a habit and cause all kinds of negative impact on our health and wellness (think ulcers, anxiety, depression, etc.).

Plus, if you life mostly in the past and/or the future, what are you missing out on right now?

Parents especially can possibly relate to this. Look at how quickly children grow and develop. If we are mostly living anywhere but the present, we will miss the bulk of the now. And the now is where life is happening. Where all the precious moments that come and go, making up the past, are being created.

Some of the other benefits of being more focused on the present are that it brings higher levels of enjoyment. You notice things more, like how beautiful the day is today, how delicious your food tastes, how precious your loved ones are, and how much fun the things you are doing are. This also helps build deeper and more fulfilling relationships (who doesn’t want that?)

You also have less stress in your life as you are not living in a perpetual state of concern or disappointment about what did happen or what might happen, which frees you up to experience and enjoy what is going on now.

It also helps you to be more productive. Focusing only on what you are doing right now allows you to give that task your optimal attention and abilities; probably leading to your best job done and doing it more efficiently as well as completing things.

In case you need some assistance with tips to support being present, here is a list of tips:

1- Start with becoming more aware of your thoughts. This will give you an idea of just how often you are living in the past, future or present. Simply take note, do not judge or beat yourself up, but rather be gentle and kind with yourself and simply return to the present. The awareness of what you currently do is the most important thing and helps you to understand yourself more and guide you on any changes.

2- Pay attention to your food. Whenever you eat, really notice how the food tastes, the texture, the difference from bite to bite – even of the same item. This will help to get you more in the now.

3- Be present when you exercise. Many, if not all, forms of exercise can be done in a present or meditative way. All you have to do is really focus on what you are doing right now. If you are walking, pay attention to your breath, how your body feels, the sun, wind or rain on your skin, how it feels when your feet touch the ground, how fast or slow you are going, etc. Paying attention to all these things gets you more in touch with your body and keeps you in the present.

4- Meditation. There are many forms of meditation, but every one I am familiar with really helps you to be present. Many focus on your breath or your body sensations while others focus on particular words repeated over and over. But they are all slightly different paths to the same place – focusing on the now – and awesome aids in getting back to the present and experiencing peace of mind and body which is very rejuvenating and healing.

5- Making life your meditation. It turns out that when it comes down to it, everything we do all day long can be an exercise in being present. We can be present while we wash the car, cook dinner, talk to our partner or kids, mow the lawn or type a blog post. All we have to do is remember to set the intention to do that, notice if our mind wanders, and gently bring it back to the task at hand. Voila!

6- Remind yourself. You can also post reminders around your house, car or work. You can even set reminders on your phone or computer. Whatever works best for you. Let life be your reminder, whenever you feel stressed, frustrated, tired, etc, take a couple deep breaths, tune in, focus on your body, ask what would serve you the best right now, and see if that is possible. If not, how soon would it be possible?

7- Anyone can do this and it costs nothing. This can go with you around the world, be with you in the bathroom or go to work with you. It is completely transportable and costs nothing. All you  have to do is remember to incorporate habits of presence in and be gentle with yourself about forgetting – even if it is for extended periods. Just take a deep breath or two and get back on, no big deal.

8- Notice the beauty. As you start to incorporate the habit of presence into your life, make note of how it affects your day, your relationships, your happiness, your productivity, etc. Do a happy dance! Remind yourself that you cannot fail at doing this, and all you need to do is keep practicing.

I hope these sharings and suggestions are helpful to you and your family.

Please feel free to share this post and information with anyone you know who you feel would benefit from it.

Blessings to you and thank you for all the loving parenting you do; it makes a better world, one Sweetie at a time.

Hug attached,

Koolma  : )

How present do you feel you are?      Have you made changes to become more present already?     Do you have any other tips to add to our list?

We’d love to hear from you!  Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section so we can help each other; remember, we are all in this together!

 

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