Stay in the Present
You have just so many moments on the earth. You have a choice – how easy – or how hard -are you going to make them for yourself? You make life harder when you stay focused on some unhappy experience in the past. You undermine yourself when you worry about something that may or may not happen in the future. You diminish yourself when you beat yourself up about your shortcomings.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can choose what you focus on in this moment and that will influence how you feel.
When you allow yourself to be fully present in this moment you free yourself from a lot
of unhappiness. There is beauty around you that’s much more interesting than your shortcomings or failures or any other negativity that may be spinning around between your ears.
A shift of focus makes all the difference
Some years ago, when I was in the middle of the trauma of my divorce, I was
complaining to my friend, Mel, about all the awful things my ex was doing. It was a beautiful day out. We were sitting on the deck of my apartment in Cambridge.
He replied, “Look how beautiful the shadow of that leaf is, there on your arm.”
At first, I felt shocked at Mel’s insensitivity. Didn’t he care about my pain and
Then I looked at the shadow on my arm. It was beautiful. Suddenly, when I removed myself from my despair for just that instant, my energy shifted and everything felt different.
A moment before, my whole being had been concentrated on my misery. When I broadened my focus to include the beauty around me, I was able to shift from
unhappiness to a deep sense of peace and gratitude. Nothing whatsoever had changed
in my situation, but the change in focus transformed my experience entirely.
By shifting your focus from whatever is bringing you down, to something you can appreciate or feel grateful for, you, too, will experience this energetic shift. Then, the energy that was tied up in unhappiness becomes free. You can use that energy to address whatever’s bothering you.
Living in the present helps you manage more effectively
It’s not that you’re pretending everything is fine. The problems you face are important
and you need to deal with them. Focusing on the negativity, though, doesn’t make anything better. It just makes you miserable and that misery keeps you from handling things in the best way you can. When you let go of negativity, you can use the energy you free up to handle the challenges in your life more effectively.
By focusing on the present you empower yourself to deal with whatever challenges you may be facing. You also make yourself available to the many gifts to be found around you, right in this moment.
3 ways you can stay in the present
Whenever you find yourself getting lost in negativity between your ears, ask yourself:
Is this how I want to be in this moment? If the answer is yes, you’re on track.
If the answer is no, self-correct gently, firmly and kindly. You really do have a
Here are three ways you can get yourself out of negativity and into the present:
1. Notice how just asking yourself this simple question, “Is this how I want it to be
in this moment?” shifts the perspective. It establishes that you have a choice in the
matter. Instead of staying stuck as a wholehearted participant in the misery, you
become an observer. From this place of detachment you see things from a fresh perspective that can transform everything.
2. Take a deep breath. Calm yourself. Refocus your attention on something of beauty
in your environment. Focus on positive thoughts or on the solutions, rather than the problems. Then notice how your energy shifts.
3. Remember a quote a client of mine once gave me:
The past is just history
The future’s a mystery
Stay in the present and enjoy the gift.