You might have heard the phrase “the only time we have is now”, or something like “if we are not here now we are not fully living.” Well, we all know that life only unfolds in the present moment. But so often, we let the present slip away. We are so trapped in thoughts of the future or the past that we forget to experience, let alone enjoy, what’s happening right now. Self critical thoughts are also common ways that we stray from the present moment. Everyone agrees to live in the now, but the question is HOW? How are we going to be able to make life a series of present moments & live each minute consciously?
In my early teenage years, I experienced a severe car accident which impacted my life tremendously. Not only was I forced to put an early end to my skating career, I also had a right arm which was paralyzed after the accident. Frankly, at the age of only 14, I felt lost. Not to say that my childhood was a nightmare, not at all, by any means, but I certainly had to face things who were beyond average. While I was still recovering I started questioning my life, I was simply looking for answers. I was mad, sad and I had all kinds of mixed emotions and feelings, I was totally overwhelmed by everything. My mind became such a noisy brain that I felt like I couldn’t think one clear thought anymore. It felt like being a prisoner in my own head. I was constantly imagining a better future, or I found myself dwelling on the past… self-doubt, self criticism, fear of what might be coming and so on. I was literally beating myself up with my thoughts. (I mean, sure, I was only 14 and my life went from being a full time skater absolutely loving my sport and life, to miserable in a quick second.) Until some kind of a switch happened. I was on my way to the doctor’s office, trapped in my head, telling myself this and that again and all of a sudden… I somehow, for the very first time, started to closely pay attention to my thoughts and to what kind of BS I was telling myself the entire time. Deep down I knew this wouldn’t bring me any further and that this needs to stop. I remember it like it was yesterday, only realizing THAT, made me so absolute conscious about my present moment that I felt like the whole world stopped for a second. For the very first time, in a long time, I wasn’t “thinking” anymore, I was simply in the NOW… I was in full, conscious present. Without judging anything or thinking about the past nor the future. I then realized if we focus all of our attention on the now the mind stops and all there is, is full awareness. All we have is the present moment… All we ever have is a series of “now’s”! And if we are not able to fully be in the now, we are never going to be able to live and enjoy a truly fulfilled life! Bc life is passing by without even realizing it. As weird as it may sound, looking back at my experience I am quite thankful for it. This accident not only changed my life within a blink of an eye, most importantly it took me on a long spiritual journey to find out about my truest and deepest self and to think about my personal growth and spirituality. And to live a conscious life in the NOW.
The importance of being conscious about your thoughts/mind at all times has been present to me since then. Don’t get me wrong tho, I am not saying you have to have a car accident or some type of accident/turning point in your life to be fully present to make your life more conscious. That is just a part of MY story, what I experienced and what shaped me and my believe system. YOU can start reinventing your life NOW, right this second! By choosing the now, by choosing the present moment! By choosing to focus all your being into this particular moment. Being in the moment frees us to experience life more fully. When you’re truly in the moment there is no room for dwelling on the past or imagining a different sometimes better future. There is no room for self-criticism or overthinking things. You will even see your negative thoughts go away, bc you can’t have a negative thought when you truly are focused on what you are doing right now.
Sure, living a consistently mindful life takes effort. It’s a constant challenge between being in thoughts and trying to stay present without thoughts. You can be mindful at any moment just by paying attention to your immediate experience. I challenge you. Try it out for yourself. What’s happening this instant? Simply observe the moment… What do you hear, smell, or see? It doesn’t matter how it feels, if it’s good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant … just roll with it, bc it’s what’s present. Don’t judge it. And if you find your mind wandering bring yourself back, into the NOW. Hear the bird sing, try to really enjoy every bite of your meal, truly focus on a conversation or simply breathe and feel it, in the MOMENT! See how your entire body and mind becomes conscious and fully present! Make your “now’s” bold and unique!
Although this journey is challenging and a constant process of trying to be fully present at all times… It’s all gonna be worth it, I assure you, you will find yourself having a much more fulfilled, conscious, enjoyable life.
Let me know about your experiences with being present!??! And remember! Yesterday is long gone, tomorrow is never promised… And ALL we have is NOW!
P.S.: If you are interested in digging in more deeply into this topic, there are also some great books out there. One of my personal favorites that I can highly recommend, is ‘The power of Now‘ by Eckhart Tolle!