I’m sure you’ve heard it said so many times, “Live in the present”. From Eckhardt Tolle’s books and sayings, to gurus who continually encourage us to do this very act, we have been bombarded with the need for present-moment living.
And it’s not for nothing.
These individuals have understood that fulfilment and the ability to live true to yourself (to live authentically) can be realised through this practice. They also understand that our society has been shaped in such a way that this way of living evades us, hence the need to consciously practice it.
“But how?”, you may find yourself asking. “How do I practically do this when I’ve got so many responsibilities and questions and thoughts buzzing through my mind?”
Very good questions, and ones I found myself constantly asking. Today, I wanted to share three ways I am learning, and have learnt, to live in each moment. I’m still working on it but it gets better with time.
Decide you’re going to give present-moment living a real go
In the work I do with my coaching clients, I have found that the ones who truly break through into the lives they desire are the ones who make a decision at the beginning of our time together (or even just before reaching out to me), that they are ready to give something new/different a chance.
They don’t yet know whether it will work out or what the process will look like. They just know that what they’ve been doing is no longer working and they may as well give the unknown a go. They’ll decide ahead if it’s for them or not.
And so, you need to make a firm decision in your mind that you will commit to trying out present-moment living even if it makes you feel weird or if it seems foreign initially. In the end, you can say you gave it your all regardless of the outcome, and you’ll be breaking your usual routine – which is the point.
Force yourself to break away into nature
One of the first ways I began practicing present-moment living was to literally break myself away from my phone/laptop to go outside. This was during the start of the lockdown in South Africa in March 2020.
Find at least 1 moment in each day to pry yourself away from the everyday things that demand your attention and just go be in nature: sit on a patch of grass. Look at the flowers blooming (or wilting) before you. Take a closer look at the grass you’re sitting on and observe the insects crawling through it or the soil cradling it. Watch your dog or cat for those 5 minutes and follow their movement.
Do this just for even 5 minutes in a day and soon you’ll find yourself returning to what is happening in different moments of your day.
You probably already know this, but most of us are not breathing properly on a daily basis. We are breathing shallow breaths usually from our chest.
Deep breathing radically shifted my life when I discovered it a couple of years ago. This is when you stop whatever you’re doing and sit in a comfortable position with your back straight, or lie down, then close your eyes. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest and breath from your diaphragm. When you breathe in, breathe into your stomach and feel it expanding against your hand while the hand on your chest remains still, then as you breathe out feel your stomach contract and feel your body relax.
Do this for about 3-5 breaths and when you open your eyes, you’ll feel like you have renewed perspective about your life.
Deep breathing helps to calm the rush of thoughts or feelings you experience, and allows you to gain clarity on what matters most in each moment. Try and practice this at the same time each day (I do it in the morning along with my meditation/devotion) and soon you’ll find it’s a habit as you go through the days and need to come back to the moment.
These are a few simple truths that I believe are key to living in the moment. I would love to hear how it went when you tried out one of them, or to hear of any other tips you have for present-moment living. Just drop me a line here.
Until next time, remember to stay true to yourself and chase authentic always.
Sonia Dee (The Authenticity Chaser)