January 18 – Living in the Moment

I spend so much time worrying about the future and fretting over the past that it leaves very little time for living in the actual moment. This was the reason that, upon first learning about Buddhism during in my college years, I felt such a strong pull to the practice. There is a calm solemnity that comes with living in the moment. Being present is the greatest gift we can give ourselves and others.

man standing near pine trees near body of water

On the topic of living in the moment, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:

We women who do too much have a terrible time loving the moment. We are always making lists and eyeing the tasks that are just around the corner when we need to be busy working on the task at hand. Hence, rarely does anything get our full, undivided attention. Because of this subtle distractibility and lack of presence, we miss a lot.

When we really can be in the moment, the very process of being in the moment radiates into the crevices of our life and begins to dust out the cobwebby corners.”

Once again I am struck by the accuracy of these meditations. If this doesn’t describe me, then I don’t know what does. I am almost always focused on the future, which is great in that I set goals and plan for how to achieve them, but the not so great part is that it doesn’t allow for the peace of mind and focus that comes with simply being present in the moment. I don’t enjoy my current situation as much as I know I should, because I am too consumed in thinking about other things.

At work this week I noticed I get caught up in tasks like making lists and plans, or trying to perfect my schedule, when I should be focused on accomplishing the task at hand—such as the work that’s due by the end of the week. This week I made a conscious effort to force myself to set other “priorities” (which were really not priorities at all) aside and simply work on that which is most important to my goals and objectives for the year. It was a small yet difficult step for me to take, and it made a real difference in how my week went.

I aim to be more present in my personal life. I have felt a deep sense of unease and unhappiness lately, and I think it is because I haven’t made as much time for myself recently. Other than getting enough sleep, I have been faltering in my self-care. The biggest absence I feel in my life right now is a creative outlet other than this blog. I have been reading a lot, but I feel a deep need to create, to be artistic, and to let that side of my personality shine. The great thing about art is that it pulls me fully into the present moment, and I become absorbed with what I am doing. Same goes for playing with my cat. Animals and babies have a beautiful way of keeping you present.

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