How Do We Truly Live In the Moment?
You hear it all the time: “You just need to live in the moment,” “Let go and live in the present,” “Live your life right here, right now!”
But how do we actually live in the in moment? This command is such a general statement, yet it is also very complex. For each of us, “Live in the moment” will mean something entirely different depending on our unique situation.
Firstly, we must understand why living in the moment is so important. The truth is, life goes by incredibly fast. I know that for me, every year of my life seems to pass with increasing speed. As my children grow, the moments seem to escape me: my duties as a wife, mother, writer, and teacher can overtake my life, and make me feel like I’m being taken on a wild journey instead of being the leader of my own journey. Making a commitment to live in the moment gives me the time and space to choose my reactions, instead of recklessly responding to people and events. Living in the moment allows me to enjoy the process of my life instead of rushing towards some far off goal. And, living in the moment allows me to be the woman I want to be: I can simultaneously find joy in my life while confronting the more difficult components. I can be an excellent mother, wife, writer, and teacher instead of letting those roles dictate my reactions.
However, one thing is very clear: when I make a commitment to live in the moment, peace effortlessly overrides overwhelm, joy overtakes frustration, and clarity vanquishes uncertainty. While your own life might look very different from mine, here are a few simple ways you can start living in the moment today.
Take a Break From Tech
One of the most simple ways we can start living in the moment right now is by putting our phones down, or maybe even turning them off altogether! Have you ever sat with a friend, child, parent, spouse, boss, significant other, or even an acquaintance, and noticed that she is not really listening to you or understanding you, all because she’s on her phone? Perhaps the tables are turned, and you are the one on your phone, not really giving others the attention they deserve. We have all been guilty of this in one way or another, and sadly, many do not realize the consequences it has on our relationships, our emotions, and our connections with others.
Let’s start with our younger generation: many children and adolescents have social issues because they are not sure how to have a face-to-face conversation with peers, and even with adults. While the inability to connect in real life can be the result of more serious issues such as non-verbal learning disabilities, it can also be a result of overly immersing our children in technology. The permanent plug-in undoubtedly isolates us, and can keep our children from learning the essential skills they need to build their own communities. By being an example for our own children and making a decision to only use technology for scheduled, focused periods, we can inspire them to connect in real life, and find happiness in nature or by moving their bodies.
On the other hand, many of us have lost important friendships because we were never able to speak to our friends, and we know how difficult it is to maintain a friendship with depth and meaning through texting alone. I feel sad when I call a loved one or friend and they never answer the phone. Instead, they will only text me. I truly enjoy good-old-fashioned eye contact and speaking to people in person. I like to see people smile, and if they are wearing a frown, maybe there is a reason why. We don’t notice these things in a text. We can’t always feel pain, or pick up on something in a text.
If we choose to take a break from our phones and laptops, we can really make a connection to the people around us, and inevitably, we end up living in the moment!
Move Your Body
Movement can ground us in the moment immediately, because it forces us out of our heads and into our bodies. Have you ever felt so busy that your heart rate speeds up and your breathing becomes rapid? Maybe you haven’t even realized the changes in your body because you are moving too quickly through your day and processing the world at such a fast pace.
Ironically, movement is the antidote to time that moves too quickly! When we move, our breathing regulates, we connect to our bodies, and we feel our blood pumping through our veins. Our whirlwind of thoughts immediately dissipates, because we can only think about the movement we are engaging in! Yoga is my preferred form of movement, and I cannot even begin to describe the peace that my practice gives me. It’s so easy to discount making time to work out when we are so busy, but I’ve learned that, when I can commit to my yoga practice on the days where I’m my busiest, I can find more peace in the moments I would usually react to negatively.
Next time you feel like you are overwhelmed or like things in your life are moving at a speed that’s out of control, make the time to move. It could be as simple as throwing on your running shoes and going on a run outside, or making the time to do a yoga class online. You can even set up a yoga session via Skype with me!
Choose What You Love About the Moment
This is the most simple piece of advice I have to share; however, it is truly the most difficult one to implement. When our world is moving at the speed of light, or if things feel too hectic to relax, we must make the conscious choice in every moment of our lives to choose a few things we love about the situation we are in. If you feel overwhelmed by motherhood, choose to focus on the fact that you created incredible children, and that you get to teach them to be the best versions of themselves. As mothers, we are truly making the world better, because we are responsible for making a more compassionate, intelligent, and forward-thinking population.
If you feel overwhelmed by your romantic relationship, make a mental shift to focus on the things you adore about your partner. If you feel overwhelmed by work, think about the things your job allows you, such as a salary in which you can fund your life, a community of colleagues, and the opportunity to contribute to something bigger than yourself.
This process is certainly easier said than done. However, the benefits are revolutionary. Choosing love in every moment, no matter what, gives us the opportunity to be in control of our own reactions, and therefore, in control of our own life. When we surrender to love no matter what the situation is, we truly are living in the moment.
Play around with these three ideas, and see what it feels like when you surrender to the moment you’re in right now!