You are Where You Need to Be
How many times a day do you catch yourself having an inner dialogue about what you should be doing or where you’re supposed to be?
You’ll be at a meeting and you start thinking about dinner. You make a mental list of the things you want to do today, a year from now or start your bucket list. All that while you’re still in the meeting.
Most people are averse to certain commitments like meetings. However, habits usually run deeper than our level of enjoyment. The same thoughts can pop up even when you’re enjoying yourself. You can be having a great time with family and all of a sudden, the thought of something you have to do comes out of nowhere—you start disconnecting. You move out of enjoying the moment to being in your head thinking about what you should be doing.
The best solution to be in the moment is to accept what you’re doing right now as the only thing that matters and allow the experience to take over.
It is easier in theory to focus on the now and forget about the rest. How can you convince your mind to enjoy what’s happening now and let go of the “should’ve, could’ve and would’ve scenarios?
It’s a date.
Remember the thrill of going on a date?
Dates are usually fun and exciting. Look at this moment as a once in a lifetime opportunity to be on a date with whatever you’re doing—a date with your collogues at a meeting, a date with nature as you rake leaves, a date with yourself as you meditate or a date with your kids as you help them with their homework.
If you don’t have a positive experience with dates, associate what you’re doing with anything that excites you—a trip, an adventure, a movie (staring you). Use your imagination more than your willpower.
Give form to your persistent thoughts.
If you’re in the middle of something and a thought pops in your head, take a moment and write it down. Use a notebook, napkin, or your cell phone.
If you don’t have access to any tool, gently acknowledge the persistent thought and ask your subconscious mind to file it until you are free to write it down.
Now you can get back to what you’re doing without stress or distraction.
Do you know what’s important to you?
When you are drowning in a sea of things to do and places to be without a clear direction, it’s easy to give equal attention—time and energy—to every thought. If you start gaining clarity about what’s important, you become more aware of where you want to be and what you desire to do.
Clarity doesn’t mean that your mind won’t throw meaningless chatter at you. But as you focus on the important, you enhance your ability to detect the noise and let it go.
The next logical thing is to start saying no, if you can, to anything that’s not important to you.
If you can’t say no
You may not be able to skip a dreaded meeting or have to deal with a challenging situation. However, you still can choose how act and feel. Do the best you can. Remind yourself that it’s a date—okay one you’re not looking forward to—but it will be over soon.
When you accept what you’re experiencing, time works with you and before you know it, you’re done. But if you resist and struggle, the shortest of experiences will feel like eternity.
Let your mind play.
If you have an active mind, do yourself a favor and allow your mind to wander and explore. It’s like an inquisitive child on a mission without a mission really. Sometimes the child keeps repeating the same pattern again and again but then one day, she stops and decides to move on to something else.
You may get a dose of inspiration and creativity from this process. You also allow other nagging thoughts to come out and be for a while before they move on.
Sit and reflect, doodle, write, play or go for a walk and let your mind drift. Have an outlet and make it fun for you and your mind.
You can’t be in two places at the same time.
If that’s the only thing you get out of this post, then mission accomplished.
Here is the thing. If you are in your head entertaining a constant stream of thoughts, you’re not here—in this moment—where your life is taking place.
Whether you’re multitasking, or thinking about a million things to do, your mind can only hold one thought at a time. So in effect, you are shifting from one thought to another very quickly—you can’t possibly fully focus on what you’re doing.
If you want to experience something, allow other things to fade in the background and do that one thing only. It can be a complicated medical procedure or a simple round of washing dishes.
Doing and experiencing from this single focus point are the true joys of living in the present moment.
Next time you start thinking about where you want to be or what you should do, smile and gently remind yourself you are here…where you need to be… now.