‘Be in the moment’ are words that one hears often in the yoga world. Over the years, I have come to realize that many times I think I am in the moment, when actually I have already jumped ahead to any number of thoughts, plans, and ideas both important and insignificant. Actually practicing being in each moment as it passes is harder than it seems. Sound familiar?
As a culture, we value goal setting, moving up the ladder, planning the future, progressing our careers, to-do lists, always accomplishing and achieving more…. the list goes on. Now, I am not saying that these values are bad; they are necessary for a balanced and healthy life. These values are a problem when they get in the way of acknowledging where we are, which is right here and right now. I call this ‘living ahead of ourselves’; when we are not living for what is happening right now in life, but instead always reaching for that next step, goal, or notch in the ladder.
As a new momma, my life has changed and slowed down significantly, and having a baby is constantly reminding me, as Ram Das says, to ‘be here now’. I have learned many things (like how to make a sandwich one handed while also putting a baby to sleep, how to get by on a few hours of sleep, how to fold laundry while nursing, etc.), but nothing more important than the lesson of letting go of the need to constantly ‘live ahead of myself’. Each day I am watching this baby grow and develop and if I only look ahead, I will miss some of the most beautiful moments of my life. I am, for the first time, truly figuring out what being in the moment feels like. Here are my few thoughts about living in the here and now:
- achieving as much as possible in one day doesn’t make me more successful – usually it just means I am stressed!
- constantly looking ahead to the next goal, the next plan, the next development, etc., means I am missing what is right in front of me.
- simplifying life means more time and energy for what matters.
- when I look back, I don’t remember how clean my floors were, how much I accomplished, how much money I had…. I remember laughing, crying, falling in love, my baby’s first giggle, human connection, sunsets, adventure…
- time goes by fast enough as it is; there is no need to fight it , nor to hurry it up. It does a fine job of rushing by as it is.
- no two moments will ever be the same; taking each one as it comes and trying to savour it like a good meal means getting so much more out of life.
- stopping to look at the richness of detail around me, means feeling satisfied by the simplest of experiences.
- when I find myself caught in the whirlwind of ‘do more!’, the simple mantra of ‘I. Am. Here. I. Am. Here’…. Helps to bring me back to the moment.
Importantly, living in the moment doesn’t mean that I disregard the past or ignore the future; it means remembering that my Life isn’t happening in the future, nor is it happening in the past, it is happening right now, and right now, and right now….