Are you here, right now, in this moment?
Or are you worrying about something you said earlier, or what you need to do tonight?
Most of us spend our whole lives dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. We feel regret, anger, guilt and hurt about the things that have happened, and anxiety, fear, concern and anticipation about tomorrow.
I had been living like this, unknowingly, for my whole life. Then, one gloriously sunny afternoon in 2020, I sat in my garden and read a book I’d been recommended by a friend, called ‘The Power of Now’. It talks about living totally presently, exactly as you are now, in this moment. It’s an incredibly hard thing to do. But when you manage to achieve it – to pause the constant stream of thoughts in your head – magic happens.
You’re left with you.
It blew my mind. I’d been neglecting my ‘true’ self by living in the past and the future, worrying about things I’d done or how my life was going to go, letting my thoughts consume my life and existing everywhere except right here, in this present moment.
It made me feel uncomfortable. My ego – the part of our mind that creates our sense of personal identity based on past events and future projections – had been in the driving seat for my entire life.
Since I had this ‘awakening’ of sorts, it has been a journey, and I feel my understanding of life and who I am has changed so much. But despite everyone changing, as we age, grow and experience, it can be scary when it’s sudden and palpable.
We may often fear change because we hear, ‘you’ve changed’, being used as an insult. But when you choose to live as presently as possible, you can’t help but change, because you’re no longer filled with the same kind of tension and angst. You start to feel content within yourself, and grounded, and so you stop worrying about what other people think.
The ‘power of now’ has been a life-changing realisation. Yet normal life goes on. And integrating this way of living into every day is hard. Your mind strays and your ego takes hold. But it’s about being able to talk about the past and make plans for the future without getting sucked into a rabbit-hole of ‘if only’s and ‘what if’s.
Through meditation and journaling, I am slowly peeling back the layers of habitual overthinking and worrying, and addressing past trauma where necessary to move forward. Slowly but surely, I’m letting go of all of the things that don’t serve me and keep me in the present.
Because no one can dispute that all we really have is now. The past is gone and will never return, no matter how much energy or time we spend on it. The future is not guaranteed, and we have no control over what happens in it. All we have is this very moment.
I don’t have all the answers on how to remember this and live presently every moment of every day, but there are things you can try to help maintain this way of living.
Try walking out in nature somewhere on your own. Don’t take headphones or distract yourself by looking at your phone. Just be with yourself for a minute. And instead of thinking, ‘this is stupid’, or, ‘what’s for dinner?’, just be.
Look at the sky, the leaves, planes in the sky, birds flying overhead, the grass beneath you. Listen. What can you hear? What can you smell? Touch and interact with the things around you. Bring your mind back to what is infront of you every time it wanders. Then see how replenished and energised you feel afterwards.
Because it was just you out there, appreciating our earth, taking the time to really see the world around you, and just be in it.
We all deserve to be happy – not living every day with judgement, anger, hate, self-criticism, fear, worry, regret. Being in the moment is where I want to be from here on out.
I’m not always here yet, but I’m striving to be.
And thank you for being here right now and taking the time to read this post xo