“Be present” and “Live in the Moment”. Those are admonitions we hear a lot these days. But what do they actually mean and more specifically what does being present look like in the practical application of life? It wasn’t until I consciously attempted living in the PRESENT moment that I observed how much of my inner thinking was spent either in the past or the future. It took a lot of practice for me to break my habit of living everywhere but in the here and now.
I get why I did it. I had a lot to process from my past, and even though much of it was painful, I knew the pain and was comfortable with it. If I kept rehashing it, I’d be somehow magically protected from incurring new pain. When I didn’t want to languish in the past I’d skip right over the moment I was in to dream up a future. This was equally as magical in protecting me from pain because this future always included the dream job, house, income, vacations, friends, and partner all of which would bring nothing but hearts, flowers, and rainbows.
What I was missing out on was life. Sure, I thought I was insulating myself from new pain, but in fact I was also insulating myself from connection and feeling, which are what bring joy, happiness and freedom to life. And yes, pain too. But I finally looked at it in a very personal way. Would I have given up the five years I had with Alison in exchange for being relieved of the pain of losing her? NO WAY!!
Living in the present with the feelings, connection, messiness, and pain are what make living so exquisite. Next post I’ll offer some great tools I’ve used over the years to bring me into the moment.
Rather watch than read? You can also check out and subscribe to my YouTube channel!
This is the sixteenth installment in a series of articles based on, “Good Grief – Embracing Life and Giving Good Support” a talk I gave on May 22, 2019. You can get caught up by starting with the introductory article here.