What does living in the now mean? We’ve all heard it before, but what does it really mean? Pause, and consider for a moment that your life is shaped by every choice that you make (or don’t make). Become aware of any emotions that may swell during this moment of stillness. Do you feel overwhelmed, paralyzed, or empowered?
Everything comes down to choices — whether to act in the moment or put it off until later.
According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, the word “procrastination” comes from ancient Greek, in which “akrasia is the state of acting against your better judgment. It is when you do one thing even though you know you should do something else.”
Doing the hard thing first and harnessing the “power of now,” or living in the moment, is an opportunity for empowerment — to overcome fear, permission to follow our divine decree.
What I was reminded of during a virtual intention-setting meditation over the weekend is that the “power of now” helps us create a life by design instead of by default. Instead of viewing life as something that happens to us and becoming a victim of circumstance, we can instead claim life as our own and create our own destiny.
“But how?” the online group collectively implored.
The pair of Charlotte-based coaches from P3 Holistic Health, which facilitated the virtual event, replied ever so simply, “By living in the present moment.”
Coach Harriet, a certified wellness empowerment coach, jump-started the conversation with a quote by Arnold Bennet from his book How to Live on 24 Hours a Day: “Which of us is not saying to himself all his life: ‘I shall alter that when I have a little more time?’ We never shall have any more time. We have, and we have always had, all the time there is.”
I haven’t read the book, but apparently, it offers practical advice on how to live fully versus just existing. It has now been added to my summer to-read list, which at this point may roll over into next summer’s.
Through virtual dialogue, Coach Harriet and Coach Dahlia, a certified relationship coach also from P3, remind us that along the path of life there will be challenges, conflicts, and hurdles to overcome.
It is how we respond to these tests that either make us stronger or break us down.
I view my own response mechanisms as a creative license — the freedom to overcome the negative voices in my head that tell me I’m not good enough or smart enough to accomplish such and such.
Through my yoga practice, writing, and self-improvement work I have come to understand these thoughts are “self-limiting beliefs generated by my subconscious. In short, my subconscious is an asshole.
The coaches invite us to check in with ourselves, asking what time zone we live in? Meaning, the past, present, or future.
Odds are it is not the present, but by living in the past or future we lose the present — a conundrum really, since the breath we take in each present moment is the only one that is guaranteed.
Tomorrow is not a promise, so when we go to sleep each night we are leaving everything in the hands of the universe.
The moral of the story: Stop putting your dreams on hold! Don’t procrastinate, act now, because no one is going to do it for you.
Coach Harriet urges us to use each moment to our advantage, and move in the direction of whatever dreams we may have or the future we envision for ourselves.
She clarifies that movement also looks like a baby step.
Coach Dahlia supports this statement with Lao Tzu’s quote: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
The coaches close our virtual session with a grounding meditation, focusing on the “power of now” by following certain steps:
- Bring your awareness to the surface underneath you, feel its support.
- Take a few deep breaths, in and out.
- Envision your feet and your hands, and the energy within them.
- Do a mental body scan, starting at the feet and working towards the crown of the head. Notice where you can release tension.
- Notice any sounds, the trees rustling or a dog barking.
- Accept everything as it is in this present moment without judgment.
- Observe the quality of the thoughts as they drift in and out, don’t attach to them but let them go.
- Return to presence.
What I love about this practice is its accessibility — it can be done anywhere at any time for free. The virtual event itself was free, an amazing resource during a period when not everyone may feel comfortable being in a group setting but may still seek health and wellness opportunities.
If the best way to predict our own future is to design it ourselves, then let’s take a baby step together toward the life we want instead of bemoaning our current circumstances. I don’t want to look back in regret realizing my inner asshole is what prevented a life of joy and fulfillment.
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