I (Shannon) was tasked recently, at work, to create goals for 2021. The exercise was to break the goals down into bite size pieces, that help work towards meeting the specific goals overall. The work-related goals seemed easier for me to create and break down, but the section for personal goals was somewhat difficult.
Creating personal goals aren’t so challenging for me, it is breaking them down, to better learn how to meet them that took more work. One of my ongoing personal goals, now, and for 2021 is to be here now. I want to stop living out of fear, anticipation, and preparing for the worst-hoping for the best, and just enjoy each moment as they come to me. The control freak in me needs to plan, hence the goal setting, but the actual mindfulness practice of just letting the moments wash over me is still perplexing. It’s very different to break down a goal like living in the moment, than it is for walking 10,000 steps/day for a year. That can be simplified by taking action steps (literally) and meeting that specific goal.
A few years ago, I saw a documentary called, “Be Here Now,” a film about actor Andy Whitfield and his realization to live every moment to the fullest, after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. It seems that when facing a life altering event, we then, begin to visualize the importance of the amount of time we have, or may not have, and contemplate what to do with it. When we find out that someone close to us may be ill, or that they have passed away, the first thought that most of us think about is all of the things you wish you could have said, or done. Why don’t we do that now, with everyone, and with ourselves, in the time that we have? Side note, if you haven’t seen the film, you can find it here, and I highly recommend it.
Ok, so I don’t want this post to bum anyone out; instead, I want to share the things that I have found, as tips, to help me to live in the moment. I am not an expert in this, by any means, but since I am actively practicing this, I thought it may be helpful for others who may want to brainstorm their own ways to be here now.
- Take mindful breaths and meditate. On my morning walks with Betty White, I take the time when I reach the waterfront to stop and take 3 deep breaths, and I practice a meditation to help take my mind off of the anticipation of things that may come up in the day, and instead, be in the present. I do this by practicing a 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 meditation using my senses:
- 5- I find 5 things that I can see and say them aloud.
- 4- I find 4 things that I can hear and say them aloud.
- 3- I find 3 things that I can feel and say them aloud.
- 2- I find 2 things I can smell and say them aloud.
- 1- I find 1 thing I can taste and say it aloud.
It never fails, after this practice, whatever thoughts I had that were creating fear, or anxiety, have gone away, and I am able to appreciate the things I have identified in this practice.
- Stretch. While walking first thing in the morning gets my blood flowing, I also take a few minutes while I am near the water and stretch. I find that after getting my brain where it needs to be, my muscles need to follow suit. Betty White loves lying on the dock while I take the time to do this, so it is a win-win for us both. 😉
- Block out negative energy. I talked a little about this in our blog, “Opting Out,” but as a rule, I am working in actively keeping negative energy out of my life. You can’t control everything, but you can control a lot. For example, I no longer scroll through my Twitter feed in the morning nor watch the news. Why subject myself to the negative, first thing in the morning?
- Connect with the outdoors. We talk about this in several of our blogs since we have found this to be so important. Shinrin-yoku is the Japanese term for forest bathing– experiencing everything that nature has to offer, through all of your senses. Taking a walk outdoors, walking barefoot in grass, or allowing Mother Nature to rain down on you can truly do wonders for your well-being. Trust us.
- Forgive yourself and let go. You will find that many experts in the field of mindfulness will tell you to forgive others, and let things go. While this is important (and a work in progress for me), we have found that forgiving ourselves and letting go is as important. We all carry around baggage of what we should have done or said in certain situations. The guilt or trauma that lives inside us is toxic. These events or actions are in the past, and your spiritual well-being needs you to let go of that shit, so that you may thrive in the present.
- Set intentions. This is a struggle for me as I have found that as I set intentions for an event, conversation, or for the day, I can also create anxiety for myself, and fear about how certain things will go, but if we verbalize things we want for ourselves, for those around us, whether that is through prayer, journaling, or the outlet that best suits you, you will find that focusing on what you want to happen, setting intentions, helps to manifest the positive outcome you desire.
If you are someone who struggles with living for the moment, being here now, then perhaps, like me, proactively approaching your day, with less scarcity mentality, and in turn replacing that with a sacredness mentality, your life will respond with enjoying the fleeting moments that present themselves, creating the energy you want for your life.