As I walk down a crowded street, I feel so alone.
People treat me like a window when I try to make eye contact. They don’t see me, they don’t care about me, and they are too busy with thoughts that consume their minds.
I just wish more people would return a smile when I smiled at them.
It seems to me that our society is becoming increasingly unaware of life in the present moment. We have too much to do, we are easily distracted, and we are consumed by thoughts of the future or reliving life in our past.
Just the other day, I saw a mother pushing her daughter in a stroller. Walking beside the mother was her friend. As they walked down the street, I saw her daughter looking back calling out, “Mommy, Mommy” trying get her mother’s attention. But the mother was too busy. Surprisingly, she wasn’t busy talking to her friend, she was too busy talking on the phone with someone else…
This mother in this instance, lacked awareness to the present moment.
I am not here to judge anyone, but we should all ask ourselves, what is the most important thing for me to focus on right now? Without constantly checking in on ourselves, we begin to check out of our own life. It becomes too easy to get lost in an imaginary world that isn’t a priority.
When I get home from work, I know that my priority should be to spend time with my family. But due to a lack of presence, I catch myself at times dipping into my email. This in itself isn’t necessarily bad, but in my case the emails are typically addressed to colleagues who are based in Europe who are in a deep sleep.
I need to ask myself, “What is the most important thing for me to focus on now?“
The answer is almost never “write that email.”
Deciding what is the most important thing to focus on during a given moment is a learned skill. It takes daily practice to be able to cultivate mindfulness to the present moment. With practice, you will find it easier to strip out the distractions, noise, and false alarms that yank you away from the NOW.
Here are three tricks that I use to get myself back into the present moment.
Follow my breath
I always have my breath to refocus myself back on the present moment. As long as I am alive, I have to breathe and my breath is always happening in the present moment.
I feel the air go in and out of my nose and mouth, down to my belly. As I consciously feel my breath, I slow my thoughts and heart rate down. After a minute of following my breath, I am back into the present moment. Rejuvenated.
Wiggle my toes
I use this trick often when I am speaking to someone and start to zone out of the conversation. I wiggle my toes in my shoes, which forces my brain to control a part of my body that I am not used to controlling. This zaps me back into the present moment so I can refocus on the conversation at hand.
I love to bring my mind back to the present moment by being in a state of Aww. When zoned out, I look for something beautiful that reconnects me back to my present self.
When I am outside I look for beauty in nature. Things such as flowers, trees, birds, clouds, mountains, or the sunshine.
When I am inside I look for pictures, art, unique building designs, or clean spaces. Anything really that gets me back in a state of Aww.
As counterintuitive as it may sound, in order to become more present, you will have to find time to disengage from the world.
The constant barrage of beeps, flashes, texts, pings, tweets and like’s - steals away from the present moment. This disruption may make you feel like you are important, but in reality it is only taking away from your most important gift: The present moment.
Life can only be lived, right now. Anything else, just does not exist.
No amount of thinking about the future, can make the future come true.
No amount of reminiscing on good times, can bring those good times back.
When you ignite the ability to live in the present moment, you will start to see the world like never before.
Whenever I think about presence I think of this question, “Where did the time go?”
Time left long ago while you were busy being distracted and forgot to live life as it was occurring in the moment.