People have always told me to be present and called me a dreamer. Maybe that’s why I often found myself, excuse the cliche, with my head in the clouds. I once read that writers are often in this state of mental reverie. I must admit it was a relief to find out that artists and authors are also quite forgetful. Of course in this state of not being present, it’s not hard for my keys to go wandering off, my glasses to leave on vacation, or (this is the worst) my wallet to disappear.
I read a book once that, of course being the forgetful person I am, have no clue what the title of it was! But had a powerful message embedded in the seams. I specifically remember the scene of a man. He was holding a sign he made from cardboard with thick black streaks of permanent marker etched across its surface. The man could have been homeless, but he wasn’t asking for shelter. He could have been hungry, but he was not begging for food. He simply wanted to convey one of the most important messages that I ever read: BE PRESENT NOW.
With technology, with distractions, with a busy lifestyle where you are always thinking about and planning your next task for the day before you even finish the current one you are on, it’s not far-fetched to think you should take this advice.
In a world with problems that need solving, with distractions that stunt you from finding the solution, it is easy to get caught up in it all. Especially if you are task oriented, you can go through your entire day and not take in a single thing. It’s just more to do than twenty-four hours in a day allow.
Life is measured in moments, not in text messages or daydreams, TV shows or waiting for the response in the group e-mail you’ve just sent. It is intended to be remembered for how his hair smelled when he laid his head on your shoulder on the bus seat, going back home. These moments should be filled with how cold and wet your dog’s nose is when he comes to wake you up on a lazy Saturday morning. Life should be remembered for the moments when all you can focus on is the hard wooden chair against your tailbone because you are so nervous while you wait for that piece of paper covered in blank answers that could define your entire future. So be present in your life.
Though it’s good to dream, have ambitions, and be creative, it is more important to go out and act on those dreams. Turn those images in your head into a reality. But even then, don’t focus on the end to your journey so much that you miss the actual road. You’ll live most of your life trying to achieve something rather than actually being at the top of the mountain. You’ll spend more time failing, then getting back up and trying again than you will in actually succeeding. Don’t miss out on your life because you’re too focused on the future.
When you’re driving down the road to your destination, stick your hand out the window to feel the spring breeze. Stop on the shoulder, get out and enjoy the satisfying view of the powerful ocean waves crashing repeatedly against the cliff jutted rocks.
Your mind can be your worst enemy, whether it will be feeding you negative ideas, distracting you from what you need to get done. Or reminding you of something you’d rather have your thoughts steer far clear away from. Controlling your thoughts is such an important way to live in the now and be present in your body at this exact moment.
Here are a few ways that you can learn how to live in the now:
Your life is measured in moments: beautiful, irrevocable, sometimes surreal moments. Live in the now, and turn every ordinary moment into something extraordinary. You will remember your life in instances: not in dollar signs, or spoken words. You’ll remember the way our son smiled the first time, or how your mother looked at you when you left.
When you reach the end of the day, or your life, you’ll cherish these moments and memories are what you will have. But to remember those moments, to relish in them like gold, you have to truly live in them.