How many times do you find yourself saying, “There’s always tomorrow”?
“If you’re like most people, you’ll spend most of your time in life passively presuming that you’ll live forever. It is always now. However much you feel you may need to plan for the future, anticipate it, and mitigate risks, the reality of your life is now. What we truly have, is this moment.“
(This version gets rid of the news stuff and has more nature and beautiful scenery, if you’re interested in that as a video background instead)
This video really struck a chord with me. If you know the me now, then you’ll know the “me” now is much different than the “me” a few years ago, when I was constantly reactive to things and perpetually in panic and plan mode. Honestly, the old, cynical, negative “me” really feels like I’m some weird, life loving, positive hipster right now. Old Me would have really hated New Me and probably slapped her. But now I understand. I find myself saying “get in the present and pay attention” more than usual. It’s strange, but it’s also refreshing. You never know how much negativity you have until you finally let it go. And sure, like any old habit, it’s work to not slip back out of the present. I still do it, it’s a battle. But I’m winning that battle, and you can too.
“We’re always solving a problem. And it’s possible to simply drop your problem, if only for a moment, and enjoy whatever is true of your life in the present. This is not a matter of new information. Or more information. It requires a change in attitude. It requires a change in the attentiveness that you pay to your experience in the present moment.”
The reality is, we only have the present. We spend so many days wasting away in front of the TV, or splitting our attention between multiple things, often ignoring the actual reality in front of us. We spend time on selfish pursuits. How many times have you sat with someone without constantly checking your phone for email, Twitter, FB, and truly connected with them? Listened? Enjoyed the moment and gave them your full attention? How many times have you been out doing something completely awesome and out of your element, and you’re too preoccupied to realize that you’re actually lucky to be doing the things you’e doing? How many times have you known that you can only do a certain something right now, where you are, and yet you say “there’s always tomorrow”… which turns into never, and a distant memory?
This realization hit me hard when my husband and I came to the west coast. It was like being ejected directly into a painting. Ever since I was little, being near the ocean has always been the one place where I’m completely in the moment. Staring at the beautiful backdrop of mountains and whispering, concealing layers of fog while listening to my beloved sounds of the rolling ocean waves, glimmering like little diamonds, makes me wonder how I ever lived without it for so many years. Or more importantly, how I never took a second to really take everything in around me. Then there’s the sunny blue skies. The view of the city lights after the sun goes down, that can only match the view of the stars when you stare directly up into the night sky. The sunsets. Oh, the sunsets.
I’ve never watched as many sunsets as I have here. And Old Me has never wanted to slap New Me as much as she does right now for writing that paragraph. :)
“The horror, is that we succeed. We manage to never really connect with the present moment and find fulfillment there because we’re continually hoping to become happy in the future. The future never arrives. Even when we think we’re in the present moment, we’re, in very subtle ways, always looking over its shoulder, anticipating what’s coming next.”
I’ve been spending a lot more time doing “one” thing at a time. Meaning, if I’m talking to someone, I’m REALLY talking to them. I’m giving my full attention. If I’m reading, I’m only reading. If I’m watching a movie, I stop multitasking and enjoy it. And it’s hard for someone with attention issues like me, but my head feels much clearer.
So I ask you today: What are you doing to live in the present? How many things have you glossed over this week because you’ve been preoccupied or in your own head? When are you going to start paying attention to the here and now? When will you start giving your 100% focus to things that are important to you, whether that’s work, someone you’re having dinner with, your wife/husband, your book…? Whatever it is at that moment. Because honestly, being completely in the present is where the best stuff happens. Be impulsive and spontaneous, but don’t waste it on something you’re going to half-ass. Because even though everyone says “there’s always tomorrow”… no, there isn’t.
“We all know this epiphany is coming. Don’t you know it’s coming?”