be here now live in the moment

Be Here Now: Keys to Live in the Moment and Become Beautifully Aware

We all want to be somewhere else. We have phantom pangs of missing out on something wonderful. It must be better over there, because look, I can see it on my Facebook feed. Then the cryptic, pinging tweets begin; something about a margarita sunset that will last deep into the night. Soon, there are incessant minute-to-minute Instagram posts clanging for your attention. You scan the photos. It seems like everyone is there, except you. Suddenly, your whole body surrenders to a social media coup d’état. Lamenting, you hear yourself thinking, “Why am I here when I could be there?”

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Surely we are all missing out on something. It must be true, or at least we think so. Each push notification falsely reminds us so every nanosecond we are plugged in. In fact, let me glance at my smartphone right now, because surely there is something I need to know this very instant, like… oh yeah, my BFF just sent me the funniest video of…There is a shorthand phrase for this –– FOMO, or fear of missing out. We have come to believe there is something better than the present moment. We forsake our own genuine moment for someone else’s. Sadly, no one truly meets Willie Nelson anymore. As soon as he or any other celebrity is spotted in public, what do most people do? Hyped up on adrenaline, they whip out their

We have come to believe there is something better than to be present and live in the moment. We forsake our own genuine moment for someone else’s. Sadly, no one truly meets Willie Nelson anymore. As soon as he or any other celebrity is spotted in public, what do most people do? Hyped up on adrenaline, they whip out their smartphone and start snapping selfies or videoing. It is an instant future jump. They can’t wait to show all their friends, friends of friends and few random strangers of their fortune. And if the video goes viral, well then, OMG.

It’s funny how the moment slips away. The thing the Red Headed Stranger frequently meets is an iPhone at the end of an extended arm. Technology is supposed to become our connector but instead becomes our distance. I am certainly not immune to this. One day, I was walking along the river at sunset and spotted a great blue heron clenching a thrashing fish in its beak. The vision in front of me couldn’t have been more cinematic. Light brown reeds were framing the heron as it stood at the riverbank. The sun was sparkling diamonds across the water behind it in a halo. I was in awe. Anticipation looming, both the heron, and I stood silently. I knew any minute this majestic bird was about to devour this huge fish, but I had no idea how. It was as if I was experiencing a National Geographic documentary in real time. I then had this interrupting thought about my brother. Before he moved away months earlier, we used to frequently walk that same path in the evening. I knew he would have loved to see this impending feat too. How I wished he were with me. It then occurred to me my phone was in my pocket. With my heart racing, I quickly pulled it out and glanced down to open the video app. When I looked up, I wasn’t sure what exactly had happened. The fish had vanished like a Houdini parlor trick. I had diverted my eyes only momentarily, for two seconds tops. At first, I thought it squirmed out of the heron’s beak, but I didn’t hear the water splash. I stared at the bird a bit dumbfounded. When my eyes came back into focus, I noticed a huge lump in its throat. Only then, I figured it out, and I let a few unprintable words fly out of my mouth. The heron accomplished the seemingly impossible feat of swallowing that fish whole. For five minutes, I had been one with that great blue heron, until I stepped out of the moment and into the future. I was left only with a temporary lump in my stomach for missing out on such a grand experience. As I continued on my walk, I kept rehashing the course of events over and over. I was right there — a mere eleven feet away from that heron, so where did I go? After my self-chiding and frustration subsided, I made a mental note to practice staying in the moment more often and to notice whenever I begin to stray. It is an ongoing challenge.

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Before he moved away months earlier, we used to frequently walk that same path in the evening. I knew he would have loved to see this impending feat too. How I wished he were with me. It then occurred to me my phone was in my pocket. With my heart racing, I quickly pulled it out and glanced down to open the video app. When I looked up, I wasn’t sure what exactly had happened. The fish had vanished like a Houdini parlor trick. I had diverted my eyes only momentarily, for two seconds tops. At first, I thought it squirmed out of the heron’s beak, but I didn’t hear the water splash. I stared at the bird a bit dumbfounded. When my eyes came back into focus, I noticed a huge lump in its throat. Only then, I figured it out, and I let a few unprintable words fly out of my mouth. The heron accomplished the seemingly impossible feat of swallowing that fish whole. For five minutes, I had been one with that great blue heron, until I stepped out of the moment and into the future. I was left only with a temporary lump in my stomach for missing out on such a grand experience. As I continued on my walk, I kept rehashing the course of events over and over. I was right there — a mere eleven feet away from that heron, so where did I go? After my self-chiding and frustration subsided, I made a mental note to practice staying in the moment more often and to notice whenever I begin to stray. It is an ongoing challenge.

Sometimes, it is as simple as noticing my breaths. Deep belly filled ones. I feel my breath slowly rise and fall in my body. Daily, I sit quietly practicing so my intentional breathing becomes automatic throughout the day, especially when stressed. I’ve come to realize two major habits that dislocate me from the moment are “what if” vs. “what is” and “forecasting into the future or comparing the moment to the past.” Both bring into play either something that already has or hasn’t happened. These are merely fictional projections or past memoirs and neither actually exist. Only the present moment is real and alive.

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There are times I notice I may be feeling uneasy about a particular thing, and my thoughts become preoccupied with it. Once again, this takes me out the present. I acknowledge my brain is built to solve problems and that is what it is trying to do. To come back, I intentionally give it a different problem to solve, something that is at hand or I want to accomplish.

For example, I’m traveling to Vancouver next month. I’ve already checked the historic rain patterns and have appropriate rain gear, but I keep worrying how much it is actually going to rain. Naturally, I want it to be sunny. When I find myself fretting over this, I realize there is nothing I can do about the weather. It will be what it will be. So instead, I invest that energy into things that will impact me today — like reviewing documents for a client, editing an upcoming article or playing the piano. A surefire remedy to snap me back into the moment is a gratitude list. Exactly as it sounds, I begin to randomly say to myself things I am grateful for, including tiny ones, like the special sea salt I use to cook with. Remember, the past is long gone and the future will turn up eventually. The here and now is the only place you can be. Spend all your time there and enjoy fully.

 

 

This article was originally published in the Spring 2015 Issue of VETTA Magazine.

IDF Editors
editor@internationaldesignforum.com

Connecting the world through Architecture, Design, and Art. IDF is a lifestyle publication for intelligent readers with impeccable taste; a beautiful collection of trends, objects, places, art, nature, and culture #curated for #inspired living.

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