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I'm Living in 'The Now' (at least, I'm trying super hard to)

Posted by Nora | Thursday October 13, 20116 comments

There are a lot of places I don’t like. Gas stations, for example. The bathroom at my boyfriend’s house where I once faced down a centipede the size of my hand. The locker room at my gym.

But of all the places in the world, The Present Moment is the hardest one for me to be in. Not because there’s anything wrong with now, but because I’m the kind of woman who practices near-constant mental time travel.

It might appear that I’m sitting at my desk, engaging in conversation with you, or even just idly checking Facebook, but I’m not. I’m on a mental journey from the present to what’s next.

I’m projecting. Anticipating. Worrying. Agitating. Obsessing. And that’s only on the Internet.

In real life I do it all over again, but LOUDER. This is definitely something that is beneficial to my interpersonal relationships. (riiight)

Attempts to remedy this have been less than successful. I never opened The Power of Now. Meditation cannot stand up to the strength of my insomnia.

On the occasions when I snap out of it and get myself to yoga, I’m struck not only by other yogi’s limbs as I tumble out of simple postures onto the floor, but by how an instructor’s constant reminder to keep you in the moment can actually keep you in the moment, even when that moment is your face meeting the floor in what is supposed to be a non-contact sport.

This summer was peppered with moments that reminded me of the value of the present, moments that snapped me out of my own head and into Now:

- The mist of the Mississippi river on my face on a morning bike ride to work.

- My new sister walking down the aisle and officially joining my family.

- My boyfriend’s hand joined with his grandfather’s atop a pile of hospital sheets.

Now is not always pleasant or pretty, but it is profoundly meaningful in a way that I won’t be able to articulate once this glass of wine wears off.

I keep a Post-It note with this one simple word on it in an effort to try not to waste my Nows on tomorrows or yesterdays but to live by lyrics to a Mason Jennings song that I will deny ever having in my iTunes.

Be here now. No other place will do.
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on October 14, 2011  Ali de Bold  STAFF said:

I'm exactly the same, always thinking what's next? It is really hard to enjoy the present. BUT, I'm being forced to do that now since I'm at home with a newborn and that has been really great for me. With a baby, your focus is about him and less about me and I can enjoy his first smiles, his little hand holding my finger... and grunting followed by explosive farts. I am constantly laughing and smiling. It's been really precious.

on October 13, 2011  Nora said:

Alexa, this article has been up for just a few hours and I've had more than one occasion to tell myself that next week is not here yet...baby steps.

Mamaluv, do you thinkI should just have a baby to cure this? :)

on October 13, 2011  AlexJC  50 said:

I've always been a huge worrier, especially about the future. Recently, I have tried to just take it one day at a time, but this proves difficult most of the time. I just always go back to thinking about the "What-ifs" of life. More recently, I've been trying to just roll with the punches and take it as it goes, even if it isn't the best at the time, you can't worry about what will come next.

on October 13, 2011  mamaluv  STAFF said:

I almost have the opposite problem. I used to be (okay fine - probably still am) a worrywart and always lived the "what ifs" and "what's nexts". I have made such a concerted effort to live in the now that in some ways the pendulum has swung too far and I find myself surprised as time passes.

Part of it is being a parent: you want to experience every stage of your kids because you know how quickly time flies. So I'm at war with myself and need to live both in the Now and keep an eye down the road :)

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