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How To Stay Present Even When It Feels Impossible

Happiness | Lifestyle

Staying present has never been my strong suit.

Believe me. I often find myself caught up in a web of what ifs. Having been blessed with an over-active imagination, an anxious mother (sorry mum) and an unusually large cerebral cortex (that means I think a lot), it is rare to find my poor brain pacified by the present.

Confession: I struggle with being satisfied with what is in front of me, even if what is in front of me makes me ecstatically happy.

So What Do I Do Now?

I feel like I’ve always been hard wired to always ask questions – What now? What next?

It’s conditioning that comes as a result of growing up in an age where progress over presence (or inner peace) is highest on the agenda. And, when combined with a Pitta personality that thrives on productivity, it makes a pretty potent cocktail that fuels me to be permanently frustrated and discontent.

The trouble is,doing yoga and practicing meditation have taught me that all we really have is the present moment in a way that has abolished goal-oriented living, but occasionally when it comes to taking stock or making decisions, I feel conflicted.

Relax, breathe, Go with the flow

While my intention remains to go with the flow, I can get carried away on a sea of scenarios, most of which may never happen because I don’t want to simply sit and twiddle my thumbs, letting opportunities sail by. But the truth is, if we’re connected and committed to the moment we will know what to do without quarm or question.

So our only real goal needs be to ride the waves of change—the ONE thing that is guaranteed. We must become surfers, riding the rips and tides of life, in pursuit of what enlivens our soul moment to moment, minute to minute.

For me, a lot of the things that make me freak out are connected with stability, security and ultimately, survival. You see, although many sigh with envy when I tell them I am a travelling yogi, nomadic and free, the reality is more testing. I no longer have a regular nine to five, no solid income or a place I call home. My life shifts with the season that usually sees me repeatedly traversing all corners of the globe for work, fun, or friendship (most of the people I know are scattered internationally).

What was once liberating and empowering can now leave me feeling empty and alone, so it’s probably only natural that questions like ‘where am I going next’ can be a source of stress, but I also like the uncertainty.

Embrace the unknown

Embracing the unknown is the only way to be present. We must open up, commit to the moment and allow space for spontaneity, as I’m pretty sure that is key! Who wants to live confined within structure? I’m beginning to think that a life worth living shouldn’t be convenient, comfortable or content.

Here are a few things I’ve realised that might help you be here now:

  • Being present to the information available in the here and now, and accepting life as it unfolds, will help you to make decisions and choices based on what is real, rather than fantasy.
  • Don’t project too far into the future, because you’ll be basing decisions on what you think you’ll want by the time you get there. And the journey to get there is almost guaranteed to change your perspective.
  • By all means have your visions and dreams! Infact, definitely pursue them and cultivate your ideas and what makes you happy…BUT remain flexible, open and willing to change tactics at any time. After all, you never know what is going to happen.
  • Take things one step at a time. Move in the direction you want to go – do more of what makes you happy – be present to the experience, then integrate and learn from it – it will inform your next step!
  • If we focus on the future, we cannot appreciate the small and simple pleasures available to us in the present moment. So look for those things you can be thankful for, that are right in front of your face.

Remember: learning and living is not a linear journey. Instead, it is an upwards spiral; we experience, we learn, we integrate and then we grow. Sometimes it feels like we’re coming back to the same place, but it is always different because our perspective will have changed.

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