Focus on the Present – Do You Remember What ‘Now’ Feels Like For You?

minutesNo less than Abraham Maslow said, “The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.”

Here are some words associated with the present (in case you aren’t quite sure what that means): immediate, this instant, here and now, time being, today, nowadays, moment, now, in this moment, current… I don’t want to get too philosophical (far be it from me), but this moment is over… and we’re on to the next one. Oops that one is over. Next…oh, it’s over, too. Well, here comes another.

The present really is PRESENT – right now. This minute. Today. You can certainly expand it just a bit, but the gist of this is that many of us are missing a great deal of what is happening now because we are focused beyond or around and behind what is happening now.

Let’s get a few visuals for this concept – and use these to be reminded of some of your own.

First, think about when you have been at a party and you are talking with someone, but that person is forever looking beyond you, over your shoulder, to the back of himself, or essentially any other place but right into your eyes. How do you feel when that happens? Not too great. Of course, if we are doing that to someone else, they aren’t feeling very important and we are missing whatever it is that he or she is saying and the entire experience of that conversation.

A personal one occurred for me one morning several years ago when I was driving from Tonopah, NV to Goldfield, NV. It was about 6 a.m. I was not in a good mood. I was tired because my room had been noisy. I had eaten a dreadful breakfast. I was driving about an hour to the location for the workshop I was going to do and I knew that the conditions for this workshop were not going to be ideal…and I was worried about that. So, I was just generally grousing around in my head. But, then, I came around a corner and experienced what I have since found a name for – and that is aesthetic arrest. The beauty and majesty of this valley in these early morning hours – well, I don’t have the language to describe it. But I experienced an in-the-moment, moment. I was brought right back to NOW through that experience and everything else faded away.

One more example…and this is back when I was a professor. Now, as many of you know, I don’t have children and that’s by choice so you don’t need to feel sad for me. Anyway, I had been presenting at a conference in Louisville, traveled to Lexington to see my family and stayed at my brother’s house. At that time, he and his wife had three young children – maybe 7, 6 and 4. I had taken a bunch of work to do with me while I was there…because of course, I always had work to do being a faculty member. Alas…it was not to be. Here’s how I went back and told my graduate classes at the university about it the next week. I told them, “I get it. Those of you who say that you are having trouble finding time to study or to get your research done – and it’s because of your children. I get it. They demand, in the most positive way, attention now and as a human being, you happily give it to them.” So that was another, NOW experience for me.

I hope these make sense and help to illustrate the ‘present’ for you. Take some time right now (in the PRESENT) to see remember some of the times when you were ‘knocked back to now’ – and really understood about the present. I have no doubt but that you can come up with several.
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And if you are well aware that you – or those around you – are freaked-out to one degree or another (and not staying in the present) and you can see that it is taking a toll, then you’re invited to join the Staying Positive Society where you can access tools for yourself or your team. We have a positive group and would love to have you join us.

 

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