The extent to which we live in the past (and as long as we have unresolved issues from the past, we live in it to some degree) is the extent to which we cannot be fully present, either with ourselves or with others.
When we release all the old stories and thought patterns from the past, we are able to become fully present with the people in our lives and what’s going on now.
We can have great lives with great things going on, and if we aren’t fully present, we’ll miss it! We don’t get to fully enjoy and experience the greatness that’s happening in the present moment.
In a sense, that just sets us up for future regret. When we look back and think, “Wow, I really missed my life here,” it feels awful. Imagine having a child you aren’t really there for while she’s growing up, and years later you look back and realize how much you missed.
We can do the same with ourselves. We miss our own growing and experiences and joy when we’re not fully present.
I heard Brené Brown speak to this very thing this weekend. Before her Super Soul Sunday filming with Oprah, Brené’s publicist told her that she wasn’t present, that it was like she wasn’t home.
Because of her fears of messing up and being seen, she’d retreated into her researcher persona and just wasn’t really there. Her publicist said something like, “You’re going to wake up in a few days and really wish you’d been here.”
If you’ve seen the interview, you know she was able to make a shift and really BE there.
How to Move into the Present
There are a couple different components of moving into and staying in the present.
DAILY PRACTICES AND HABITS: Daily rituals can definitely bring you back into the present. I give my clients exercises to do regularly to become more present.
Making a conscious choice several times a day to drop back into your body is a great step toward being present. We get very caught up in our heads sometimes, worrying about the future and re-living things from the past. When we drop down into our bodies, we become more present in the moment.
Feeling gratitude is an excellent way to move into the moment. It’s a pleasant way to live, to be constantly looking for things in our lives for which we are grateful. It also often gives us more reasons to stay present.
When we start connecting to things for which we’re grateful, whether it’s delicious food we’re eating, or a walk, or time with a pet or loved one, it gives our whole system the message that the present is an okay place to be.
ENERGETIC RELEASE: Another way to stay fully present is to release our energy from where it’s invested in memories from the past, and worries for the future. It can be like we have energetic strings – almost like wires – that connect us to events from the past. It’s like we unplug from whatever that event was and plug back into the present, so the energy that was flowing out into the past is now available here in the present.
A lot of the times, what pulls us out of being present are the pressures and expectations we put on ourselves. We really want to do well. We want to be prepared for everything: our upcoming client calls, our upcoming meetings, our upcoming travel. We look at the situation as, “I need to get ready to leave on my trip.”
What we actually need to do is make a phone call. Plan outfits. Write a blog article. Pack a suitcase. The big goal is made up of all these small steps. By breaking it down into little steps, it feels much more doable and we get to experience the energy of accomplishment all along the way. (Don’t you just love to mark things off your list?!)
How do you stay in the present? Name one way you stay in the moment in the comments area below.