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The Power of the Present

I have found that I often get caught up in the past – wishing I could have changed something. There are always all the “what ifs.”  If I had done something different, said something different, or chosen a different path.  There is that constant query – would things be different today?

Of course, I have to go in the opposite direction as well and worry about the future -what is going to happen?  I worry will my interview be successful, will my doctor’s physical show I’m in good health, will I get published, will I get the phone call I am expecting, will I enjoy the movie I want to see? The list is endless.

Whether it is the past or the future, it all causes stress, anxiety and pulls me away from a focus on the here and now.  I’ve heard numerous quotes, and songs about there’s only now. “Live Like We’re Dying” It’s easy to get distracted when my inner voice wants to inform me of every angle and nuance.  It reminds me of the past and attempts to inform me of the future.

That inner voice is a non-stop commentary on everything that could be and should be. Getting lost in that voice and believing the meaning it attaches to everything is a fool’s game. Don’t believe the hype it wants to sell you – just like an on-air meteorologist.

I was watching television the other day and Ellen Degeneres mentioned about being present and living in the moment. A lightning bolt hit me. I had a long overdue epiphany. Sometimes the most simplistic statement can be the most mind awaking and life changing.

I realized I lived in the past, the present and the future. The voice in my head was telling me I could – NOT TRUE. There is only the present moment that we live in – there is nothing else. I stopped to ponder the impact it had on my life, and it was significant.  I thought of lyrics from a song in the musical RENT –

“There's only us
 There's only this
 Forget regret
 Or life is yours to miss
 No other road
 No other way
 No day but today”

I realized why I always felt emotional when hearing these lyrics. It’s because they hit a core principle we should all follow – live for today. Living in the truth that we only have the moment we are in is freeing. It shuts out the pain of yesterday and the anticipation of tomorrow. Be conscious of that breath you take, followed by the next breath and so on. There is no guarantee that tomorrow is coming, so live with all your senses in the moment.

 As I remind myself to be in the moment, I know that I can invest fully into whom I am and what I can offer to those around me. I think of myself as the driver of a car that is my life. I can’t worry about what I have already passed or see what lies around the corner; I’m only responsible and can react to what I can see directly in front of me.

I am not saying don’t plan for the future or have goals, but everything starts today. We can look forward to a great life, but make sure it starts immediately and not a week from now. Don’t be like Scarlett O’Hara and “think about it tomorrow.” Make it happen now.

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions thinking about what they want to accomplish in the coming year. When the next year arrives those promises we made many times are still there. We live in what the future holds, not what we can achieve in the present.

Here are some examples of resolutions people make and how they can take action now, and not over the coming year.

1.    I am going to lose weight – The future doesn’t promise fewer pounds the action we take today does. Put your feet on a treadmill. Make healthy choices in the present, not in a week, so you  have a chance to finish off of those potato chips in your snack drawer.

2.    I am going to pursue a writing career - Doing research on writing and what makes a good story is fine, but putting words on paper makes you a writer. Sit down today and begin. Open a word document and type. Make it a reality.

3.    I am going to unclutter my life - Grab the trash bag and start organizing today. Discarding those old magazines is today’s agenda. If you only restack them, you are still a hoarder.

4.    I am going to improve my relationships – Make the call, the visit or sign-up to Skype with that friend across the country. Say, “I love you.” You need to do it now. There aren’t always second chances and the reward is so much greater without waiting for the right moment. The right moment is here.

5.    I will find my life’s passion – Guess what you already know what it is. It is the thing that lights you up and gives you that sense of purpose. It lies in the core of your being. Acknowledge it today. Once you say it is so, you have brought it in to existence. It is tangible and part of your present.

Whatever your resolution or dream, you only have today to make it a reality. No matter what your goal or dream is, talk about it today and you have thrown it out into the universe so it lives for you in the present. 

I am not trying to be all Oprah Winfrey or Eckhart Tolle about it, but there truly is a phenomenon about talking things into existence. If you verbalize it into the world it will live for you. You have to do it now and create the momentum. There is true power in living in the present. Remember is there “no day but today.” The force of the present is with you.


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