For many, ourselves included, staying present when immersed in countless daily activities can be a huge challenge. We often find ourselves multitasking, while simultaneously thinking about all the other things that we think we should be doing. The thing is, when we think about the past and/or the future, what we’re missing is the experience of the present; the experience of the exact moment that we’re in.
Being present starts with recognizing that we can really only do one thing at a time and that we ought to do that one thing mindfully. Being present goes hand in hand with being mindful.
Staying present means staying RIGHT HERE. Because most of our time is spent thinking about the past or the future, what we often end up doing is passing through the present moment, on our way to something else. The problem with this is that we end up missing the moment. This is literally how life can end up passing us by.
START WITH YOUR BREATH
Being present starts with breath. Start by taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly through your nose. Ask yourself, what am I doing right now? You are reading. Are you just reading, or are you thinking about what to cook for dinner, helping your kids with their homework, or the 6 loads of laundry that need to be done? You are reading-that’s it; JUST read.
We have a tendency to feel like we aren’t enough, or that we aren’t doing enough. YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU DO ENOUGH. Repeat this mantra daily.
It is easy to not be present, our minds wander constantly, we worry about our finances, the health of our aging parents, does my boss like me, when will I find time to get to the 97 things on my to-do list? When we catch our mind wandering, we need to gently bring it back to the ONE thing we are doing, and focus on that. By focusing on breath and the task at hand, we can practice letting go of whatever is not in that moment.
Practice being present. Social media and the large number of other digital distractions can’t interrupt us if we close them, and instead, focus on completing the task at hand. When you’re at the dinner table, put your phone away. When you’re talking to a friend, don’t scroll through social media. When you’re typing, liking, swiping, or posting, you are not being present.
Practice being present until it becomes natural. Whatever you are doing right now, learn to focus entirely on that one thing. Pay attention to every aspect of what you’re doing, to your body, to your sensations and to your thoughts. Try your best to be joyful in whatever it is that you're doing; be grateful that you're able to do that task.
The secret to being present isn’t really a secret at all....it just requires us to be right there, right then; that is all. Being present is, in a sense, its own meditation, where the stillness comes from actions, breathing, and letting go. This simple practice can profoundly change how we experience the world, how we show up for others and most importantly, how we show up for ourselves.
Stray & Wander Team