I thought once I’d decided to Live in the Moment it’d be like the old Nike commercials. I’d just do it. Maybe it’s that simple for you, but I quickly discovered I wasn’t so good at this practice. Similar to driving on automatic pilot from home to work, when you really meant to go to the beach, my mind did the same. I’d set the intention to be in the moment only to find my thoughts dwelling on a past scenario or re-designing the present moment with added perks I wished for in the future. In the meantime I was missing the beauty of life unfolding before me.
Being the practical person I am, I dug around for concrete tools I could use to practice being in the moment. After trying a bunch out, here are the ones I’ve used again and again.
High and Low of Day – As you wind down from your day note what both your high and low points of the day were. After a few days of doing this, you’ll find yourself more in touch throughout the day asking, “is this going to be my high (or low) of the day?” If you have family or others with whom you live this can also provide a great connecting point. It’s much more interesting than the typical, “How was your day?” “Fine.”
Gratitude List – One of the first things I do every morning, after coffee of course, is list three to five things I’m grateful for. In doing this I start the morning on a positive note. Acknowledging the good things going on in my life, I find myself being present throughout my days naturally noting things I may choose to list the following morning. Over time I’ve seen my perception of life in general shift as well. Now I’m more likely to see how life is happening for me instead of to me.
Two Hour Timer – This is a fascinating one. Set a timer for every two hours for one day. When it goes off, take five seconds to check in with yourself and note your feelings/emotions of the moment. Before doing this I fancied myself pretty in touch with my emotions. This was an eye opener! The first few check ins I really struggled to identify my current feeling.
Once I began living a life rooted in the present moments I found myself getting curious about my future in a new way. It wasn’t an escapist fantasy any more, instead it was looking at how to build upon the existing foundation. More on that next week…
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This is the seventeenth 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.