Living in the Moment…Can it be Done?
October 2013 Insights
Now that’s a tough one. Personally speaking I struggle with this concept often. Let’s face it, asking women to live in the moment is an oxymoron in and of itself. In this fast-paced, overloaded world where women are revered for their abilities to manage multiple things at once, how are we suppose to suddenly shut it all down and “live in the moment”. It sounds lovely and of course would serve us all very well but it is completely contradictory to how we live our lives. From family schedules and responsibilities to work and household deadlines and commitments, the idea of being “present” in most moments of our lives seems like a tricky thing to nail down. However, as I’m learning with practice and determination it can be done. After spending some significant time researching the subject and having personally invested my own time in practicing various “mindful” exercises, I have come up with my own “Tip” list I would like to share.
1. What Does Living in the Moment Look Like for You?
The first thing to ask yourself is how you define “living in the moment”, what does it
visually and physically look like for you? For me, I had a big shift in my
perspective when I considered this question. I realized I viewed living in the moment
more as a concept, something vague and intangible. It felt bigger than me, too far
reaching. So I needed to find a way I could relate to it more. I decided to redefine
my perception of “living in the moment” to be more of an acquired skill. Something I
could better relate to. Knowing that with practice, time and true intention, I too could
master the skill of “living in the moment” so that it becomes more natural and
common place in my life.
2. Having a Well Spaced Out To-Do List
Contrary to what most research suggest, I highly recommend having a to-do list. Yes,
I get the idea that in order to truly live in the moment we need to rid ourselves of
thinking about our never ending to-do list. But without scheduling and physically
writing down what it is we need to do, it makes it that much harder to be present in the
moments of our lives because then we are busying our minds with sorting out all it is
we have to do. By having a to-do list that provides space and time for each task we
need to complete, we are able to then free ourselves up to be more “present”.
Knowing we have organized ourselves so that each aspect of our lives has a time and
place, allows for greater opportunity to be more relaxed and truly embrace living in
3. Designate Single Task Days
I’d love to say, make all your days only single tasked but that may be biting off more
than one can chew, at least in the beginning. Most women instinctually
multitask, it’s what we’ve been groomed to do since birth. Women are masters at
multi-tasking but nothing kills “the moment” more then texting while you’re
suppose to be spending quality time with your partner or children. If your attention is
divided between multiple tasks it is impossible to live in the moment. Start with
designating two to three days a week to consciously only do everything single tasked.
When you are eating you do nothing else, when you are exercising only listen to your
heart beating, when your children come home from school don’t try to cook dinner
while helping them with their homework and answering a text. Focus only on one task
at a time.
4.Tune In to Your Senses and the World Around You
Pretend it’s the last time you’ll ever experience whatever your experiencing. Tune
into what sounds you’re hearing, what smells you’re surrounded by, what sights you
see close up and from a distance. Are you touching anything or is anything touching
you? How do you feel? Tuning into your senses is one of the best ways to connect
with the present, it forces you to put your other thoughts aside and connect with the
here and now.
5. Create Sacred Pauses
This can occur in many forms: taking an early morning walk, meditation, practicing
yoga, pray, even just taking 5 minutes to do nothing and breathe. It’s not about what
you choose to do or how long you actually pause for, it’s more about making a
deliberate plan to consciously quiet your mind.
As with strengthening any new skill, learning to live in the moment requires daily practice. Of course, it’s not possible to always live in the moment but I’m learning that through both the small and big efforts I make daily the pay off is huge. I am experiencing more fulfillment in even what most would consider mundane tasks while a whole lot more fun in the exciting ones!
Give it a try. You’ve got nothing to lose and only quality of time to gain. Sounds like a win-win to me!
Wishing You Well