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Breathe. Be Here. Be Present.

I think a lot. A lot.

I realize that most of my thinking hinders my ability to simply experience the beauty of the present moment. The sounds. The smells. The colors. The joy of being part of the eternal now.

My thoughts give rise to my emotions, which gives rise to more thoughts, and circles endlessly.
When I interrupt my thinking mind I feel peaceful. I don’t project myself into the future or wallow in my past or my fears.
Letting the thoughts just play like a song on a radio allows me to be the observer of the thoughts without identifying or giving them more energy to persist.

When I let my thoughts carry me away like the mighty waves of an ocean, I lose myself in my mind. I drown. I start to believe my limiting thoughts are my reality. I play and replay scenarios in my head. I remember the past. I rehearse for the future. I replay all my fears. I analyze. Overthink. I beat an idea down over and over until I am overwhelmed and uneasy.

Then I remember  I have a choice. I can either live in my head or live in the moment. Do I live in the mental stories or do I actually live? The stories make me feel good or make me feel bad, or something in between. The stories do not provide lasting peace as they are always changing, analyzing, criticizing, judging.

Regret. Fear. Anxiety. Love. Nostalgia. Guilt. Shame. Sadness. Pride. Creativity. My myriad of emotions. It’s all tossed in my head like a salad.

Then I chose to take a seat. I just sit there and watch the thoughts. I watch them until they are done rising and sinking. I let them ride but I don’t join. I actively interrupt the thoughts by commanding myself to “Be here. Be present.” I take deep breaths and focus on the feeling of the air filling my lungs and then releasing.

In…
Out…
In…
Out…
Be here.
Be present.
In…
Out…
In…
Out…
Be here.
Be present.

My mind becomes quiet. I am brought back to the present moment where everything is ok. The colors penetrate my eyes. The smells dance in my nostrils. The sounds tickle my ears. The air makes sweet love to my lungs. I am well. I am here. I am not identified with the stories in my head. I am not my memories. I am not projecting myself into the future. I am not trying to control. I am not trying to do more, be more, have more to prove some point to myself or the world. I just am. I just am this living being who is settled in peace, inner stillness and soothing joy.

The Extraordinary Ordinary

“If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in?” – Unknown

Much of our life is made up of ordinary moments. Eating, brushing our teeth, walking, cleaning, sleeping, bathing, running errands, taking out the trash, doing laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, driving the kids to school, doing homework, and on and on and on.
The bigger, less ordinary, moments in life like getting married, reaching the top of your career, graduating college, moving across country, buying your dream home, among other grand achievements, happen with less frequency. When we live our entire life neglecting ordinary moments because our mind is too busy chasing after peak moments, we fail to enjoy the entirety of our life experience. Like a hamster running on a wheel, we fervently chase, chase, chase the next moment because right now, just as we are, is not quite enough.

All too often I catch myself feeling frustrated because right now my apartment is too small. Right now, I have debt to still take care of. Right now, I am not at the top of my career. Right now, I am not exactly where I wish I were. So what do I do? I spend time neglecting my ordinary moments chasing after the next moment. I beat myself up and don’t feel good in the here and now. This state of mind blocks me from seeing the beauty in the ordinary. It inhibits me from realizing that although I am not yet experiencing the bigger, more defining moments of my life, it does not mean that my life isn’t already big and momentous in and of itself in the present.

Each day, I realize more clearly how important it is to my wellbeing to simply enjoy the journey without getting worked up about the destination. Life is not about chasing moments, though it’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of chasing. It is easy to get stuck in not feeling enough because right now you are just not there yet. The funny thing is, there is no there – there is only, always, here and now. It is always in the now moment that we will experience anything, ever. To live a happy and satisfied life, we must carry happiness and satisfaction with us in both the everyday standard moments as well as the bigger more rewarding moments. If we place our happiness on any future desire then most of our days will be gloomy because we will always have more average days than peak days. We will always be waiting for happiness to happen in some future time while our present suffers. It is in the here and now that we have to find our joy. It is in the ordinary that we have to see the extraordinary. It is in taking out the trash, washing the dishes, walking the dog, driving the kids to school, brushing our teeth, washing our hands, doing the laundry, walking to work, and all the other little things that we have to participate in with joy. The joy we experience in the extraordinary is the same joy we can carry with us when experience the ordinary. Life will be joyous not just because of the great things you will achieve, but it will be joyous because YOU in and of yourself are great and joyous. Feel it! 🙂

Be Here First. You’ll Get There.

“Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything.” – Mary Hemingway

Resisting your here and now because you want to be there and then will only create in you more emotional pain. You can eliminate additional, self-caused pain by accepting where you are in time as well as disidentifying from negative thought patterns.

There are times when our present circumstances are annoying. Of course you’d rather be in some future, more pleasant moment, because THEN you won’t be dealing with whatever drama is currently present. Totally understandable. Nevertheless, wanting to escape the present moment only adds to the already uncomfortable situation. For example, you have a job interview to get to but you miss the train so you’re probably going to be late. “FML” status, right? It doesn’t have to be.

Thinking to yourself over and over “I should have left earlier” or “I wish I was on the train” or “I will never get the job now” or “Why can’t I ever get anything right” or “Ugh, if only I never stopped for coffee” or “Ugh, where is the next train!!!??” or whatever other thought of this nature, will only add to the negative feelings you are already experiencing.

So what to do?
Be here now.
Be present with your situation without mentally projecting future outcomes and without blaming yourself or criticizing what is. This doesn’t mean become passive about your life and allow the world to just stomp over you. No. Quite contrary! When you allow yourself to accept whatever the moment is presenting you with, you approach your circumstances in a more peaceful, level headed manner. Instead of adding negative commentary to your already unwanted circumstance, you simply accept that this is where you are right now but it doesn’t define you. Missing the train is your present circumstance, and that’s it. There is no further need to add fuel to this fire with unpleasant thoughts. You accept that you are waiting for the next train and if there is anything else you can do about it, like take a cab for instance, you go ahead and do that. You do what you can do, and if there is nothing else you can do, you allow yourself to experience the truth of your moment without resisting what you can’t control. Breathe. Look around you and admire something beautiful. Take this moment to read or write. Take this moment to appreciate life and find something to be grateful for. If nothing comes up, allow yourself to just be present, breathing, being alive. Becoming frazzled will not solve your problems, instead, it will create additional pain in your life.

The mind will want to project all your worries and fears, but it’s only trying to protect you. It goes into “OMG, I am freaking out” mode because your mind wants your success and so it’s only natural for it to come up with reasons as to why missing the train was a horrible, horrible thing. Thank your mind. It is a tool that is only here to help you! Tell your mind that you appreciate it worrying about your well being and success and that you are going to relax now and breathe.

If anxious thoughts keep coming up, focus on your breath. Don’t attach to them and become identified with them as your ultimate reality. Remember, your mind is only trying to help. Let the thoughts pass like a cloud. Realize that you are not your thoughts. Breathe.
You’re ok.
Be here in this moment.
And from here, surely you will get there.
It starts with here. It starts with this moment.

Now What? Just Flow With It

You never really know when life is going to rattle you and send you waltzing towards a new direction you weren’t at all expecting. Nothing is written in stone, but even if it were – not even that is permanent. We make plans and set goals for ourselves, then life comes along bringing new factors into the equation.
“I wasn’t planning for this. Now what, life? Everything was so clear! Now I am foggy again.”
Sometimes the curve balls that are thrown at you help you see more clearly what it is that you TRULY want. If your original plan is your true intention, then a curve ball will only serve for the increase of that path. Curve balls that cloud your path and beckon you to question your intentions, show you that perhaps what you really want isn’t what you thought you wanted in the first place.
You are constantly changing, evolving, learning, growing, expanding — so it’s only natural to re-evaluate your goals and life situation as you unravel.
Remember! It’s always important to look within yourself for the answers you seek. You are the ultimate creator of your life and no one else can walk in your shoes. Trust your intuition! Avoid making hasty, rash decisions and allowing the motivation of others to cloud your own heart and guiding system. Consider putting aside all or nothing, extreme forms of thinking and find a balanced way to make the necessary adjustments. This way, we realign ourselves to the path we truly wish to experience at a pace that feels natural and free flowing.
There is no ONE STRICT path — you can color in a new road any time you feel it necessary. This is your life! Draw the picture you wish to see. Take baby steps. Re-arrange when needed. Make changes in the moment you feel ready without putting added pressure on yourself. Don’t rush yourself. Don’t worry yourself. Breathe. Trust your intuition as you go. Let your heart guide you and trust your choices. Don’t be afraid when life brings you new challenges – it’s a sign that you are ready to expand into new territories!
Have fun as you explore. Be kind to your self. Don’t cling too hard to the past – let it pass like clouds in the sky. Embrace each moment and dwell in the present – because NOW is the eternal hour, and now is all that will ever matter.

Life is Now

I used to think that once I got my own place, found the right person, finished school and got the right job, life would start.

I set goals for myself and once I achieve them I quickly turn to myself and say “Ok! Now what?”
I finished school… Ok. Now what?
I found a partner whom I love… Ok. Now what?
I have a nice apartment… Ok. Now what?

There is always this sense of having to do more. Get more. Accomplish more.

Accomplishing my tasks gives me a sense of fulfillment, which is great, but this sense only lasts temporarily and soon enough I am asking myself “now what?” again.

Then I finally realized something profound. I realized that life is here. Life is now.

Life does not start when I accomplish something; It starts when I take my first breath and it will end when I take my last.

I have arrived. I am here and this moment is my life.

I don’t need anything else. I am complete.
In this moment I am whole. There is nothing that I can accomplish to make me more complete because everything that I am, I am when I just breath.

I realized that I am not my name. I am not my car. I am not my house. I am not my possessions. I am not my education. I am not my achievements.
All these things play their function in our world — but when I derive my sense of self from them, I will always feel at lack. I will always feel the need to accomplish more because anything external to me is subject to time and change.
When I rest in the knowledge that “I AM” and my being is sufficient, I no longer need to seek fulfillment in things or in titles because I already am fulfilled.

My life can express itself through different experiences, but it’s not the experiences that define my life. My life defines itself through its presence.

Sometimes I still get lost and captured by identifying myself with the external world and achieving in order to feel at ease and accomplished – but the more I practice just being present the more I realize I am whole now.

I am free now.
I am at peace now.
I am enough now.
Life will not start when I achieve a goal – life IS and will continue to BE here and now.

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