Sunday, April 10, 2011

Living in the Unfolding of Now

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I do my best to live in the moment that is in front of me—to appreciate what is before me.

Most challenging are the times I find myself delayed at an airport, trapped in a conversation that I don’t want to have, or wanting to be doing something else.

I believe a disconnect occurs when we have a future orientation. Yes, I understand the future orientation intimately. I lived there for many, many years.

I’m questioning, now, if I still do? I’m not quite sure how to separate what’s happening now and knowing that something fun and exciting is on the horizon that I can’t stop thinking about.

I do believe there is a difference between disassociating where you are in the moment versus being hopeful or interested in a future event.

I do work hard to give the people in my life, at a particular moment, my undivided attention and focus.

This brings to mind the cocktail party setting—where you see the person surveying the room looking for the better deal. But even the best of us more than likely struggle when finding ourselves in a similar situation stuck talking to the person who is boring us to tears when we see someone else who would make us laugh or feel better.

Just the other day, I was presenting to a group of students. I was enjoying the moment, but happened to look at the clock. “Oh dear, I need to finish this so I can go do what I really want to do.” I had a schedule. I needed to leave and any delay would interfere with my fun. These are the times I attempt to reign the future back in and return to present moment living. Sometimes I am successful and sometimes I am not.

As mentioned before, my most challenging times are those airport delay situations and similar. I really hate not being in control of what I am doing and when. I know…doesn’t sound like the best candidate for present moment living. I have, though, gotten better. So much better in fact, that not too long ago, I received an email from an airline carrier apologizing for inconveniencing me. I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about. Although, if they had delayed me overnight or something—I most certainly would have known.

Maybe just trying to live in the moment is a major step forward. So for now, I will continue to do my best. I will continue to not beat myself over it when I can’t seem to go there. Yep, l have much practice to do.

On the same theme...below is one of my favorite articles on the subject (2009).

New Year's Resolution: To Be More Present

This year I decided on the perfect resolution: to live happily in the moment no matter the circumstances.

The resolution was so perfect I had already begun speaking about it in presentations. Living in the moment can be hard to do—think holiday travelers stranded at airports and train stations. Most of us relive the past or pine for a better future. I didn’t even understand the concept until I was in my 40s, and I was going to make sure 2009 was going to be the year when I focused on the present.

That is, until my daughter Addy took the dog-sitting job, which required me to be the designated driver.

“Let’s sit in the hot tub tonight,” Addy said. The doggy momma owned a fancy hot tub, which she had offered to us.

“Good idea!” I said. It was blustery and cold. Soaking in the hot tub sounded like fun.

We arrived at 6:30 p.m., checked on the dog, put our belongings on the kitchen counter and then went outside to the tub. As I was about to step in, I realized I still had the thank-you-for-my-Christmas-present note I had meant to leave inside.

Addy jumped into the hot tub as I headed for the backdoor. I turned the knob. It didn’t turn. The door was locked. “It’s still 2008,” I yelped at the intractable door. I wasn’t ready to face my new resolution yet, but what choice did I have. Plus, I had an impressionable witness.

And there I stood clad only in my swimming suit in 28-degree weather with our shoes, coats and my car keys locked securely in the house.

Fortunately I also had my cell phone. I could have called someone to pick us up, but I had left my spare house key in my own house. My friends who did have a key to my house were out of town.

I tried calling my hot tub friend, but I knew her plane wasn’t arriving until 8:20 p.m., if it did arrive on time in this time of many travel delays. I called my husband who was on his way home from an out-of-town trip. He wouldn’t make it for three more frigid hours.

Don’t tell my friend, but I thought about breaking down her door, but that solution didn’t appeal to Addy or me. We couldn’t think of anyone else to call. Who wants to be at someone else’s house in their swimming suits for three hours, even when the temperature is more favorable?

There was only one thing we could do. We threw up our hands.

At this point Addy said. “Okay, Mom. Let’s just enjoy the moment.” We had been talking about this lesson for some time now, and in the cold, in the dark, part of me was thrilled to know Addy had been listening to our discussions.

“You’re right, Addy,” I said, trying to set a good example while the idea of not knowing how long the hot tub ordeal would last unnerved me.

It was 8:20 when doggy friend texted me the number of the next-door-neighbor, who did have a spare key and after a good laugh came to our rescue. We had plenty of hot tub time, a good story for the retelling, and lots of practice of living happily in the moment. I have to admit I need lots more practice, which makes this 2009 resolution just right for me.
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

I alway think of those occasions as being "flexibility-teaching moments," Allyn! (-: Gorgeous image you found to illustrate!
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Blogging writers' resources at Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick

Anonymous said...

This was just a "little bump in the road" on your life's journey. Enjoy the moments. Hank and I call them M&Ms (memory makers)!!!

Warmly, L...

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