Nothing is worth more than this day. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
It happened right before Grandma’s birthday.
We were in the car, radio on, travelling to celebrate with her over dinner. My thoughts had drifted to Monday morning, to the appointments of the week and the work to be done.
Little Girl said, “Maybe I should bring my homework in the restaurant to make sure I finish it.”
Little Boy said, “I think you should leave it in the car and be present with your family.”
Both kids had a good idea, but Little Boy nailed it.
Living in the moment is all about prioritizing your attention.
Yes, homework is important – but not more important than celebrating Grandma’s birthday. As soon as he said it, Little Girl realized he was right.
You can prioritize your life in the same way.
What is important right now?
The answer changes all the time. Yes, sometimes I need to be alone. Sometimes I need to write. I need to be a wife and mother, too.
The trick is to fully engage when it matters, sometimes as a writer, sometimes as a homemaker. Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project said one way to do this is to enjoy the process.
That’s a really key mindset when it comes to living in the moment. That’s how you can turn a moment that’s boring, exhausting or hard into a moment of happiness.
By choosing to prioritize your moments, you can fully engage in a birthday celebration, a night of editing or an hour of cleaning the house.
How to make the most of your moments
Here are some ways to be present and fully engage in the current moment.
Try three breath meditation. Use this method to tune into the project or task at hand. It only takes as long as three mindful breaths. You can learn more about the method in this video.
Practice the art of relaxation. Take care of yourself by experiencing life’s simple pleasures. Give hugs, snuggle with a blanket, take naps without regret. Don’t live every moment on the go. Leave room to relax.
Do one thing at a time. As you do it, think about the steps involved. Put all five senses to work – sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. Think about how the dishwater warms you. Notice how fast your little girl is growing up. Doing one thing at a time lets you soak in all the details.
Remind yourself to enjoy the process. Put up a sign if you have to.
If you’re bored, find something interesting to do. This will help you avoid the temptation to plug into distractions like TV or Facebook. You could even challenge yourself to try something new for the next 30 days.
Include people in the process. Instead of buckling under the pressure to do it all, ask for help. Include the kids when it’s time to make dinner. Enjoy the process together (as this habit forms, the rest play along nicely, I promise).
Savor something. Make the moment more enjoyable with a cup of coffee, glass of wine or with a long look at the view outside. Make moments of drudgery a pleasure by turning up your favorite music.
Slow down. Next time you feel rushed, force yourself to take it down a notch. Treat tasks and people with respect.
Practice giving people your full attention. Look them in the eye and stop whatever you are doing. This lets them know their thoughts and words matter to you.
Instead of trying to force an outcome, be open to what emerges. Do you plan every moment and tack a goal on every process? What if you could go with the flow and actually enjoy what you are doing?
Practice makes perfect
We live in a society that tells us life could be so much better “if only.” If only:
- we retired young
- owned a vacation property
- wore hot stilettos
- drove a nicer car
- made more money
- and so on
Living in the moment can lead to simple happiness. If I can find it, so can you. I’ve learned that being present brings contentment. By using the tips above in your daily life, you can leave tomorrow and start living in today.
I truly believe that in some small way, right now is perfect.
You don’t want to miss out.
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Photo by eljoja