Living in the moment: the keys to being present and at peace today
October 22, 2018
Have you ever been in a moment so beautiful, so amazing but all you could think was “It’s going to suck so much when this is over”? No? Is it just me? or did that just make a spiritual connection with you? I find myself avoiding enjoying the now. I honestly always wait for the other shoe to drop because I am certain that those moments, especially the perfect ones, are fleeting and far between. I could have great food in front of me and my only thought would be ‘I’m going to miss eating this when it’s done and I am going to hate myself for enjoying all these calories.’ Or I could be having the greatest time and then I would suddenly just get struck by this wave of nostalgia for the moment I am currently living because I have already left it. I am a worrier filled with anxiety with a deeply melancholic personality so yeah, I am not the best at ‘being present’ or ‘enjoying the now’ It is my constant struggle, my Achilles heel and the one thing that keeps me up at night. Being present is something many people struggle with; whether it’s enjoying that one good day at the beach or just sitting and reading or laughing with your friends at something silly or not carrying the problems of a past relationship into a new one or tackling today’s work without stressing about tomorrow’s. We often find ourselves borrowing from tomorrow’s troubles or lusting after the day when things will get easier. You stick to a job you loathe or a degree you can’t imagine using because you are hoping that by doing what you hate, you’ll buy yourself the freedom to do what you love later. You stay in a relationship that is going nowhere because you hope that one day you will start going in the same direction. You don’t enjoy your day because then you will have too much to do tomorrow and you also have a CAT next week so you have to just kill yourself today and hope that in a week’s time you can maybe sorta have a good time. You hide from people because you hope that someday you will be ‘beautiful enough’ to be confident. You keep punishing yourself for a mistake you made at 14 or an addiction you had for five years, two years ago hoping that you will pay enough penance to finally forgive yourself. The list goes on and on, I could write a book. Do you see a pattern here? The belief that maybe some day a miracle will happen and then you’ll be happy or pretty or skinny or smart or rich enough to live life. Many a times we take trouble from tomorrow or next year by worrying until our heads explode about things yet to come or running scenarios in our head that don’t happen 90% of the time. We are stuck in an endless cycle of working for things we never enjoy, wishing for lives we may never get and praying for things that we never actually are grateful for. So how do you break the wheel? How do you stay mindful of the present and enjoy it? How do you live?
I have found that when I have my anxiety moments or sink so deep into melancholy from worrying I need to start being grateful. In that moment, I start saying thank you for everything I have now, even if I am certain I will lose it tomorrow. I begin by saying it in my mind, then I say it out loud and finally I write it down as my spirit lifts and I can breathe again. Gratitude is a powerful trait that enables you to live in the now. Being thankful for air in your lungs that work, untainted blood flowing through your body, food in your stomach, fingers that work and legs that walk. Be grateful for the hair on your head, your parent(s), your friends, your church, your job or your season of waiting. Just start thanking God for anything you see, touch, feel or are experiencing and going through.
2. Being content:
Contentment is another really important virtue to learn if you really want to be present and live in the now. Contentment is not about I am ok with or without but I know who holds me and thus I am more than OK in whatever situation. Cultivating that contented spirit is hard but well worth it because it will carry you through the best, worst and most ambivalent of times. You will realize that gratitude topped with contentment not only the key to a good life but also a well lived one. If you are not content, then even if your past was erased and you got a clean slate or you got everything you ever wanted you would still worry, hate your life and or hate yourself.
3. Surround yourself with positivity:
Have you ever been just fine, great even and then you talk to this one person or watch this show and suddenly your brain isn’t working and you’re worried about this or that? Each one of us has a trigger when it comes to making us anxious of the future or guilty/nostalgic of the past. Sometimes your own mind is the trigger because the enemy is waging war in the spirit and he knows to attack your mind. Yet other times, your mind is attacked by negativity. There’s someone who only seems to have daunting facts, bad memories and bad news or you switch on the TV and watch all the negative news around the world or you watch that show that keys you in to a million different problems that you weren’t even thinking of but are now obsessed with. In order to be truly mindful of the present then you need to cut off the negativity and fill your mind with positivity instead. Surround yourself with positivity which is the word of God; with what you watch, what you’re listening to, what you read and who you hang around. It’s not naive to refuse to watch news for the sake of your own mental health and it is not mean to cut off people who carry negativity with them. You would rather have two friends that you talk to on occasion than several you talk to a lot but are filling your head with negative news, views or spend their time reminiscing the past and reminding you of what you did wrong.
4. Your energy and time are priceless:
Realize that you have so much energy and time and be careful what you spend it on. Dwelling on the past, whether the mistakes or the triumphs, will get you nowhere today and worrying about tomorrow will ensure you get nothing done today. Moreover, using up all the energy you have today on things you hate or spending your youth doing things you loathe will only decrease the amount of energy you have to actually live the life you were created for in the future. Your energy is precious and your time is fleeting. Just because you will make all this money by doing this job today will not ensure you will be healthy enough tomorrow to go and do the job you love that doesn’t pay as much. So instead of wasting energy worrying, planning, remembering and or surviving, use that energy to live today. Wake up each day and do the best you can with what you have to get to where you need to be. This does not mean you survive, this means you thrive in whatever situation you are now in, live the moment you are in and do what you really want to do today because hoping to do it tomorrow is not the way to live.
Wake up each day and do the best you can with what you have to get to where you need to be.
5. Make prayer a lifestyle:
Prayer unburdens you. When you are overwhelmed, underestimated, overworked, undervalued or simply can’t breathe, prayer is the ultimate way to lay down your burdens. Talk to God because he cares, he hears, he has been there and he answers. Most importantly, prayer gives you the right perspective which is needed when you want to live in today. With your worries cast and your sins forgiven, God begins to clear the debris from your eyes and give you a new way to see things and enjoy what he has created and given you. So next time you find yourself stuck in yesterday or living in tomorrow, pray earnestly. Pray for strength to let go of yesterday, grace and wisdom to make the most of today and the faith to trust God with your tomorrow.
6. Surrender all:
And finally, none of this will work without the most important step of all; surrender. I am also realizing that when I am living in yesterday or borrowing from tomorrow that I am trying to be in control. And I know that I cannot be because I did not create the universe, this earth or even myself. My life is out of my hands; my choices and decisions may be up to me but in the end, I have zero control of life in its entirety. When you begin to realize that it doesn’t matter how much you stay in the past, you will never change it or how much you plan or worry about tomorrow because it will give you no knowledge for it, then you begin to surrender. Let me tell you, there is nothing sweeter than surrendering it all to Him who is really in control, nothing. The weight just slides off your back and you find such a deep and profound rest that you never want to pick it up again. You begin to really live in the present and enjoy the now because you know that the God who created all things and you did not do it without a plan and He will ensure his plan comes to pass so you don’t have to.
Hey there! I am Makenah, a passionate believer, writer, avid reader, poetess, wannabe globetrotter and amateur programmer. I enjoy dancing, listening to music, reading, cooking, travelling and eating.
I started this blog as a way to share my journey through life; the pitfalls, the strengths, the beauty and passion, the pain, the beautiful places I go and people I meet and most importantly the triumph of grace in life. I do this so that through my sharing my journey, you can learn to embrace yours and trust the process of becoming who God created you to be and stop obsessing over 'making it' and 'being someone' or 'getting there' but realizing that life is a journey to be taken and enjoyed and the things and accomplishments are not a final destination but a pit stop on your way to forever. So sign up and join me, you won't regret it! And feel free to interact with me either via social media or in the comment section
Love and light to you,