Are You Fully Present?

I think a lot of people yearn to be fully present. They want to live in the moment and breath in life as it is happening. Some people believe this is one of the keys to living in peace, to being truly joyful, to appreciating everything, to being grateful! In our fast paced lives, I don’t think too many people even know how to be present. This is a very hard thing to do, because, in this busy life we live, we are constantly planning for whatever is ahead of us, worrying about the future, regretting the past, and planning accordingly. We are making appointments, checking our schedules, looking at our watches, running late, worrying about this and that, and trying to live up to unrealistic standards.

To be fully present means that you are living in the moment. You are experiencing life, and living life. This means you are not thinking about the past or the future.

It is said that being present is the ultimate goal. To be present means that you are in this moment, and you are engaged in whatever you are doing. This means that you are fully aware… feeling, enjoying, and being. You are drinking in life, even if the present is challenging or difficult. You are learning, expanding, and growing.

Being in this state means that you are showing up for life and being fully engaged, not just tiredly walking through life like a zombie or rushing so fast that life just passes by in a blink… in either case, that is not feeling, enjoying, or truly living.

I realized I was not being fully present the other morning during my workout. I was going through the motions, but I was not concentrating on my body, how it was moving and feeling and responding. I was not concentrating on my breathing; I was not in tune with my muscles. My body was working out, but my mind was not. My mind was elsewhere. I was planning my day, my week, and the meals I wanted to prepare. I was thinking about the size of my television, and the room I was in. I was thinking that I needed to sweep the wood floor I was on. I was calculating how much time I had left until I needed to get into the shower. I actually was thinking of everything except what my body was doing, or why I was there in the first place.

Once I realized my mind was elsewhere, I began to tune in. All my senses became acute. I was listening to the music and feeling the beat and rhythm. I was watching the lady on my workout DVD and mirroring her movements. I was feeling each muscle contract and expand… I was focusing on how strong and tired they felt at the same time. I was visualizing how healthy and in shape my body is. I was paying attention to my thirst, and my breathing, and my body heat. As I became fully present, my spirit was lifted. I felt joy, even in the tired pain of my muscles. I became grateful in the moment. I was grateful for my body, for my muscles, for the time I had to work out, for my glass of water, for my energy.
I felt fulfilled… I felt energized… I felt alive!

Being fully present is very hard to do when we are doing something alone, like working out… but it is even harder to do when in a relationship or group setting. How many times are you in a conversation with someone and the other person is talking and you are not listening? You are either thinking about how you will answer them, or you are thinking about something totally different, or you are waiting and wishing they would stop talking. I’ve been there, and I think we all have. How wonderful and enlightening would it be to be fully present with your relationships! To drink up their emotions, to hear and feel each and every word they speak, to look into their eyes and read them, to touch their soul and let them touch yours… what a neat exchange we can create! How great if we really slowed down, looked into our children’s eyes, listened with intent, and were fully present with them!

Take Action:Let’s all try to be fully present this week. When we are alone, and when we are interacting with others let’s use all of our senses to enjoy “what is” and try not to let our minds wonder into the past or the future. No regrets, no guilt. Yes, we have to plan what we are making for dinner, but let’s be present while we are making it! Let’s appreciate our homes and our full refrigerators and the people we get to cook for! Yes, doing laundry isn’t the most fun thing to do… but let’s be present while we are doing it. Let’s be grateful we have clothes, a washer and dryer, and the time and resources to do it! Yes, it’s hard to listen to your child tell you a long-winded story, but let’s be grateful we get to listen to them and that they want to share their stories with us!
Be Fully Present… Be grateful!