Being Present

Here is a problem that I am wondering about “is the difficulty to remain present” and “in the moment” a distinctly American one? In many minimalist circles, the message of being in the moment is a reoccurring theme. I will not be one who says that I have this state of mind conquered. I have a HUGE problem with staying present.

When I am interacting with friends and family, in person, on the phone, via skype whatever it might be, I am able to be there with them. I do not interact with my phone or other technology unless it is what the moment calls for. However, when I am at work, or performing a menial task, I am off dreaming of a better tomorrow.

Recently, I read a book named 10% happier. The author, Dan Harris, is a television anchor. In his writing, I saw myself so much. He had a good job, but was always on the look out for something else, a better assignment, a better promotion, more face time…always the elusive better. He realized that he was not enjoying what he actually had on hand, a great job, good assignments, great family.

I look around and I understand what he is feeling. I too have a good job, a good family, a good life. Yet I am always on the lookout for my next project, my next amazing vacation, my next life changing adventure.  I want to learn how to enjoy the time that I am going through the motions on my job. I want to find joy in routine paperwork, sweeping the floor, washing the clothes. I need to learn how to enjoy my job and the people with whom I work. We are all rushing around from here to there, completing our daily list, our bucket list, our grocery list. Is it really possible to live in the moment?

As I stated earlier, I do not have this problem when I am interacting with friends and loved ones. I do not have this problem when I am on vacation. Time S. T. O. P. S. I love that. I am able to breathe. I feel no obligation to create something great. No obligation to learn something new. No obligation to cross something off of my list. Just being there is enough.

How do I make the crossover? From what Dan Harris said, meditation helps. I thought that by having my quiet time in the morning I was doing enough. I decided to try “real” meditation through the tips that Dan Harris gave in his book. IT IS HARD. Even to stop the chatter of my mind for 2 focused minutes as I concentrate on my breathing is so difficult. I realize that I have major problems with turning off my brain even for short periods of time.

So when I read of people who say they have no goals, they are living in the moment, or when I hear of other cultures where it is not necessary to Get. It. Done. NOW. I really don’t understand. How does someone do that? How can you survive with no goals? I think I would feel like the biggest failure. Does anyone understand what I am saying? am I the only person who feels I must accomplish this this this and this by yesterday?

With that said, I suppose living in the moment and being present is something that I am working on accomplishing….another goal. I will do my best to take it easy and relax with it, not like I HAVE to be present with everything by tomorrow. Who knows, if I can become a little more in tune with what I am doing on a daily basis, at work, I may also become 10% happier.

To be continued.

2 Comments on “Being Present

  1. Can’t say I have this one down. I do like to think of a picture of the man I saw/read somewhere with THE ONE CUP. If you only have one you take good care of it. To be mindful of watching over it, loving it, caring that it is clean for the next use, etc. The phrase – ‘the one cup’ helps me stop and see that what I am doing – be it sweeping the floor, washing the dishes, doing paperwork, getting thru traffic, whatever is an opportunity to slow down and be mindful of whatever is my ‘one cup’ to take care of in that moment.

    I also enjoyed reading the book ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. My take away was to decide for a time, perhaps a season of what my one thing was going to be. If I wanted to be a writer that getting my ONE THING done today would be to write something. Each day deciding what your one thing is as it pertains to your one big GOAL thing helps you eat the elephant one bite at a time, keep focus and be present at what it is you wish to do/become/live. A ‘Did I do my one thing today?’ question each night before going to bed helps me keep focused.

    Hope this helps you or someone else.

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