Life is defined by a series of “moments” and we experience them in three different stages past, present and future. Sometimes we get caught up in the day-to-day activities and stress of life and we are not living like we should be. Especially in times of a struggle we tend to focus on what we did wrong in our past or try to focus on how our future is going to be changed. I for one have been there and it is now that I”m realizing I should have taken more time in the present moment when I was going through that difficult time. The brunt of my struggle took almost two years and during that long period of time I was focused on the past and the future and ignoring the present.
Past: There are obviously some good times to re-live the past like when looking through photographs or going over memories with loved ones. You need to be able to know the difference between re-living the past and living in the past. If you are living in the past it can cause negative effects. For example at one point I found myself going over things in my head wondering how had I missed the signs? I spent countless hours over the past few years trying to figure out where things had gone wrong. Guess what? It didn’t change the outcome, it didn’t change the fact that I was going through what I was going through. All it did was cause me more stress and grief. I should have been paying more attention to the way I was feeling in the present moment and just maybe my healing would have been a little bit easier had I chose to face it as it was happening instead of dwelling on the past.
Future: We all have plans for our future and looking forward to and planning for them is very healthy and will be very beneficial. However, being in a present moment of struggle and focusing on the unknowing of the future is a totally different scenario. Toward the end of my divorce is when I was stuck in this mode. As the final date drew closer it became very scary and upsetting for me. For starter’s I had never lived alone my entire life and living away from my family was something I truly did not think I would be able to handle. As I look back tonight I wish I had chosen not to worry about the future so much, it is a work in progress but is turning out to be ok.
Present: The little bit of research I did on this subject says that people who live in the present are the happiest and extremely successful people live in the present moment. My opinion is that it is hard to live in the present moment, however it is worth it! It is something I constantly have to remind myself to do, but when I do I am very happy and I am finding myself to be successful in my new job and my new surroundings. I am living each day when I wake up not at 8pm the night before or worrying about what the next day will hold. When I am truly living in the present I feel like the little green guy in this picture. Imagine how happy you would feel if you lived like that every day!
I cannot get back the time I spent dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, but I can spend my time day-to-day living in the present moment and experiencing life as it should be experienced. Treasure every moment, feel the pain even when it is hard to do, feel the joy, share tears and all of the wonderful experiences that life has to offer.
Here are just a few tips on how I take the time to live in the present moment. If I find I am slipping back to my painful past or worrying on what tomorrow holds I find a quiet place to sit and just do some breathing exercises. Even if it’s just five minutes it brings me back to the present and the now. There are several websites that offer lists and tips on being in the present moment I recommend any of those that speak of mindfulness. Being mindful is something that if we practice daily becomes very easy and it’s just a matter of stopping to remind yourself that you are living for today not for yesterday or tomorrow.
Have you ever looked back on a time in your life when you wished you had lived in the present moment? Please respond with your experience.