The art of being present.
What does it mean… Be Present. You may hear it in a yoga class or from a lifestyle guru. But what does it really mean? Maybe it is easier to explore things that are NOT present
Past: Remembering past experiences
When you revisit past experiences (often negative) your mind not only remembers, but it re-inflames emotional and physical remnants associated with the events. The memories can trigger your emotions and your body to respond to the memory of the past event. Memories of traumatic experience create real time (present moment) effects that don’t belong. None of us will escape this lifetime without some big experiences. It is our choice to revel in past love or regret past trauma.
Practice of interrupting the thoughts of the past – Name the memory and tell your self the story that the memories create. For example: I am remembering (insert past trauma) that made me feel (feelings like shame/regret/excitement) and I know that if I let the thoughts carry on their usual path I will have feelings (shame/regret/excitement) that don’t belong to this moment. I have done my very best to (forgive/make amends/accept) this memory and there is no need for me to relive it at this moment.
Planning for future events can both make you more at ease and prepared or fill you with anxiety with unease about the unknown. Both the feelings of ease and unease about the future feel real even though they are related to your best guess on what the future experience will be. Planning and preparing is warranted and has it’s place in your day to day life. When planning/preparing overwhelms and you are not living in the present it’s time to take stock of the truth.
Practice of interrupting thoughts of the future – name the thoughts and notice the feelings and stories you create around the feelings: For example: I am planning (insert future event) that I am (excited/concerned) about. My best guess on what this (future event) looks and feels like is (describe a few details you are concerned about or anticipating) However I acknowledge that this is my best guess and I could be having feelings now that don’t necessarily show up in the future at all. Should the thought continue to create more extreme emotions you can adapt the serenity prayer or create your own version of it to help ease into acceptance so that you don’t miss any of the moments of right now.
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.