About 12 years ago, the notion of ‘being in the moment’ kept coming up for me. It was coming up in conversations, in books I was reading, showing up on the cover of magazines; it just seemed to be everywhere. The idea of ‘present time’ triggered a series of questions for me. What exactly did ‘being in the moment’ mean? Wasn’t I always ‘in the moment’? If I wasn’t in the moment, then where was I?
I decided to spend some time observing my own behavior to see what I could discover. As it turned out, I spent a lot of my time thinking about the future; thinking about things like what I was going to do the next day or what did I want to accomplish or what might happen if something that hadn’t already happened, happened. (Convoluted, I know.)
I also found that I spent a lot of time daydreaming; creating fantasy worlds that had nothing to do with my reality. Interestingly, I did not spend much time in the past.
At the time I was teaching 11 yoga classes a week. I noticed that in Yoga, when I stood I leaned slightly forward. Some students leaned forward, others leaned slightly back. Only a small, small percentage stood without leaning. I did some checking in with them and sure enough those who thought a lot about the past leaned slightly back and those who thought a lot about the future leaned slightly forward. We added this present time awareness piece into our yoga practice.
For myself I came up with an exercise that would help me practice ‘being in the moment’. I decided that I would be diligent about being present with whatever it was that I was doing. If I was driving, I would chant ‘I’m driving. I’m driving’. If I was brushing my teeth, I would chant ‘I’m brushing my teeth. I’m brushing my teeth.’ I also instigated a self-regulatory check for daydreaming. Before I’d wander off into a daydream I’d ask myself if I wanted to do this. If I did, I would give myself permission to daydream; if not, I would deny my own request.
Here’s what I found. When I lived in the moment I had way more time to get things done, to create and to experience my life.
I also found that the more I chose to decline the daydream, it also created more time and I was able to focus on creating the life I wanted in my real life. The daydreams were escapes. They were fantasies and no matter how much I dreamed, those fantasies weren’t going to become my reality. They couldn’t because they weren’t happening in my actual day-to-day life.
When I was thinking about writing this, I was reminded of a charming and particularly telling moment with Caidin. We were at a neighborhood pizza place in Brooklyn and we ran into a friend of mine. We had some pleasant catching-up-conversation and then she turned to Caidin and said “Are you in School?” Caidin was five at the time and I can remember this look of confusion that swept across his face. He thought for a minute and then said to her, ‘No, I’m in the pizza place.
We laughed warmly about Caidin’s ability to be right where he was and the phrase ’Be in the pizza place’ quickly became a reminder to ‘be in present time.’
I’ve explored present time living both personally and with my students. We have all found that our sense of time is greatly expanded. There are moments when the day, or even five minutes feels endless and what we can accomplish is tremendous.
Plus there is a sense of relief that comes when you choose to live in the moment. You aren’t fretting about the future or consumed with questions about the past. You can’t change the past and you have no idea what the future will bring, the present on the other hand is right there waiting for you to live it.
Have a look at your own day-to-day happenings. Do you live in the moment? Are you a daydreamer like I was? See if you can create more time in your life, simply by being in the moment.
© 2012 Christine Agro
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Christine Agro is a clairvoyant, naturopath, Master Herbalist, conscious mom and author of 50 Ways to Live Life Consciously as well as of The Conscious Living Wisdom Cards (Special Moms’ Edition). Christine is founder of The Conscious Mom’s Guide , a membership site where she helps support you on your own journey of living life consciously and on your journey of being a Conscious parent. You can also join Christine on Facebook. To contact Christine or to schedule an appointment with her please email her.