A Worriers Guide to Living in the Moment
It was chilly outside. I️ was wearing a casual grey suit jacket with a camel colored scarf. The restaurant was hustle and bustle. I️ walked up to the counter and asked for a table for 2. The wait time was 20+ minutes and my lovely date was just leaving the gym, so I️ whipped out my kindle and started where I️ left off with Tony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within. Times fly’s way to fast (I️ never to read enough) And then she stepped in.
She was wearing a purple coat with a large black circular scarf. Her hair was prim and curly, and her eyes sparkled as she looked at me. Fortunately for me, she was (and is) mine. We embrace with a hug and I️ tell her how lovely she looks.
Dinner was excellent, the conversation was fun and very renaissance life. Lots of talk about how we wanted to become better and more capable than we are. We talked about friendships we wanted to cultivate and the life we wanted to live.
It’s a small moment, but a moment that will be etched into my memory (and now the internet lol) I️ was practicing the art of living in the moment and It was exceptional.
It’s hard for me to be in the present moment. It’s something I️ strive for, but It doesn’t come easy. It’s one of those skills (and It is a skill) that no one teaches you, but affects everything.
I worry a lot. More than I️ would like to admit. More than I️ am conscious aware of. But I️ don’t worry about things I️ can’t control — the weather, other people’s attitudes / moods, fortune’s favor — instead I️ worry about the future. I️ worry that who I️ want to be — an musician, author, entrepreneur, connector, artist.. — isn’t going to happen. That the me I️ am now isn’t the one that creates that version of me I️ picture. Basically, I️ worry that I’m not doing enough, being enough to align to my values.
I️ know this is bogus. I️ know intuitively that I️ can create radical change in my life at any moment, that my future isn’t set in stone no matter how old or young I️ am. Yet I️ can’t deny my anxieties.
That’s why I️ practice living in the moment. Developing a moment practice allows you to step out side of your self-centered nature and see the big picture. If worry and anxiety was a hurricane, mindfulness is viewing the hurricane from outer space. Most of the problems in our lives are created by ourselves. It’s not until you can step back and see that can you start designing how you want to live and how you can solve them.
I️ use Headspace in the morning. It’s a great way to start the day. Sometimes I’ll use It at night as well, or use oak to add a second time out for myself. Oak has a great guided feature with background noice (like rain) that really calms me down and allows me to focus in on the textures of my surroundings.
Most of my work day is on on on on on (repeat to infinity). Often times I’ll look up from my computer and half the day goes by without me having moved or given myself mental and emotional breaks.
I️ also challenge myself to see how many deep breathing exercises I️ can do in a day. I️ use Dr. Weil’s Deep breathing method: Inhale (nose) for a count of 4, Pause for a count of 7, and exhale for 8 seconds (mouth). Repeat 6 times.
The second living in the moment practice I️ do is actively telling myself to be intentional about a particular moment. (For example my dinner experience above) What you do is tell yourself to give 100% on whatever you are doing in this moment. If you’re eating lunch, focus exclusively on eating. The taste, smell, textures, feelings. Your mind is always going to wander, and that okay (perfectly normal). The mission is to practice and hone your ability to focus in.
This one is a new concept to me, and one that I’m still bad at. Often times, there is so much that I️ want to do and be, I️ fill my days up wall to wall with activities. If I’m not working, I’m working on something else. I’m writing, playing guitar, listening to podcasts, chatting with friends. The nothing practice is setting time in your day where you do absolutely 0 things. Nothing, Nata, Zip. I️ see It as applying architecture’s concept of negative space with your mind. Designing a building — or a city is important, but how people move and interact within the space is determined by the negative space — the space between structures. So too with our minds. We need to leave room for negative space to give our minds room to rest, rejuvenate, be bored and wonder. I️ think we tap into our unconscious mind when we wonder. The best ideas I’ve ever had in my life have been my minds has wondered off into my imagination.
Creativity and connections happen in the negative space.
Do you have any other tips you practice on living in the moment?
Let me know!
Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner