Time Stop Enjoying the Moment – (6) Life Changing Steps For Learning to Live in the Present

To truly be free from the stresses of the world you must learn to live in the present moment. What I mean is to live consciously aware of this present moment. Do you remember grade school roll call where the teacher would alphabetically go down the list of classmates; state their name and expect everyone to respond with “Present”. If no present was heard everyone knew the person was just not there. Now imagine that roll call and your name is called but you do not hear it because you are looking out the window daydreaming about the recess fight you had yesterday. When the teacher called your name no “Present” was heard. You really were not there; consciously or aware.

If you want to feel peace, calm, astounding clarity, grounded, grateful, and happy; then you must let go of the past, stop worrying about the future and be consciously aware of what is happening around you right now, in this present moment.

This may sound easy at first, but it will require some real effort for you to change this habit for good. Every day the world swirls a ton of crap at us while our fears, frustrations, worries and stress stand by ready to distract, confuse and pull us away from enjoying the present. The good news is once you learn to master the present you will not believe you could have ever lived any other way.

Do you want try a new way of life by learning how to live in the moment? Well it is said that “if you have a desire for something new, then you must do something you have never done”

I am going to share my personal method of how I learned to truly master living in the present moment.
First, let us prepare ourselves by recognizing we must let go of all expectations and any preconceived results. To do this I want you to get a hold of this principle. Think happy and thankful; no matter what occurs with any outcome, know that all things work out for your good, you are loved, you are not alone and all is well. Yeah, I know it sort of sounds like a Saturday Night Live, Stuart Smiley thing, “I am good enough, I am smart enough, and dog-gone it, people like me”

Seriously, most of our disappointments, constant thoughts, fears and worries are rooted in our egos trying to micromanage the world and control everything in it. So let go a little and try letting life just happen for once. Do not worry for the future, get a hold of the fact that you will never have to worry about a place to live, clothes on your back and food to eat. You can stand on a higher power faith that your basic needs will be provided no matter what you do. From this security, let go of your controlling ego that continues to fight and struggle against what is actually best for you.

I am going to share an antidote. I do not recall where I heard it, but I do think it is an appropriate example to illustrate my point.

There is a story of two friends, living in the country a few miles outside the city. Life on the farm does not seem to match up with all the dreams swirling around in their heads. They each learn of a job opportunity in the nearby city and decide to travel the several miles together for their scheduled interviews. As they must travel on foot it is agreed that a short cut along the river will save the journey much time.

While walking beside the river a deluge of water flash floods them both into the raging river. One of the friends struggles and fights against the powerful force of fast moving water. He desperately thinks in his mind, if I can just get back to the shore, where I was, everything will be fine. In his struggle to fight back against the river while attempting to thrash towards shore, he is overcome and dies.

The other friend, upon being sweep into the river, immediately gains his composure, relaxes, turns to his back and allows the water to naturally push him to the center of the raging current. He takes a fast wild, face up, float down the turbulent river. A sharp bend in the river forces the water and him rolling unto the river bank. He collects himself, looks around and realizes he is only a few hundred feet from the very business where he has the job interview.

Okay, here we go. It is time to learn to enjoy living in the present moment with these six important steps.

1. Yoga and Meditation
You must exercise both the Body and the Mind. Nothing does this more effectively than the healing properties of Yoga and Meditation. The entire focus of meditation is a tool to help you live in the present moment. It will help you find the answers within yourself by beginning to accept things as they are. Meditating takes some time to master, you can learn to be still and the more it is practice the easier and stronger influence it will have on your personal serenity.

Yoga will help your body prepare for meditation by relaxing muscles and increasing circulation. This will help to quiet your mind and enjoy the stillness. The easiest way to shut off your mind is to focus on your breath. With each exhalation strive to release any thoughts and emotions that continue to pop up.

2. Nature- Those tree huggers are really on to something.
You really must take time to reacquaint yourself with nature. The beauty and serenity offered by stopping to smell the roses will have an amazing therapeutic effect. It is often said you can visit the gentle “Spirit of God” anytime you wish in the stillness of a forest. You may wish to simply go for a walk or sit under a shade tree in the park. Whatever way you choose, if you want to experience the feeling of a present moment nothing will allow it easier than a quiet encounter with the energy of nature.

3. The Past- It is so yesterday, you need to deal with it, because “It is over.”
If you really want to feel better about yourself all you have to do is learn to accept past situations and relationships. Believe me you will feel a lot better once you learn this. I know it is difficult but come on there is nothing you can do to change the past. So stop thinking about it and accept it. The only thing bringing the past into your present will do is to cloud and confuse your current thoughts. This has no value, joy or peace for you and will only make it harder for you to concentrate on this present moment.

When thoughts of the past arise, learn to accept them for what they were, allow those old emotions to pass through you, then return to the present moment and leave the regret and grief behind.

4. The Future- Back to the future, again and again, Please!
What day has any man added to his life by worrying? None! I think Jesus said that. So now to continue our journey to live in the present moment we will need to accept the future. Since you thought about it over and over in your head, you must realize you have no idea about what is going to happen, and of course worrying about it will not make one bit of difference.

Right now I want you to agree with yourself that you will not waste another day going over and over every possible outcome and option of what or why, you should, or should not. Enough of the “What am I going to do?” How do you know if you are going in the right direction when you are not even moving? If you can stop the worrying, analyzing and endless pondering, you will find you have more time to actually do something about it!

5. Enjoy the journey, for living in the now is really about “Awareness.”
Awareness really only needs two friends; their names are “Thankful” and “Happy”. It is very important for you to become mindful. You need to start by having gratitude for all the wonderful relationships and things in your life. A sense of being thankful will immediately provide you with a more positive and happy outlook. To be mindful is to be closely aware by paying attention to what you are doing at the present moment.

I want you to consider some task like laundry or dishes as not just another mundane chore. For you to fully experience this activity it is important to perform it with an open mind. Allow all your senses to open up to what you are doing. You may just experience an incredible positive feeling that you were not even aware existed.

6. Finally, to relax you must remember to breathe.
The only way to achieve conscious living in the moment is to maintain a relaxed attitude.
I want you to consider that there is your ego mind and your true higher self both battling for control of your thoughts. Now just allow your higher self to observe how your ego mind races weird thoughts and fears all over the place. Your higher self can ground you back to the present moment, if you will maintain the insight to realize when your thoughts are getting out of control.

This can be achieved most easily with a consistent meditative practice. You can use a simple breathing exercise that helps calm and relax you, if it is not appropriate to meditate. First pay attention to your breathing. Take deep slow breaths pulling air in from your stomach. Allow the thoughts to flow through you as you remind yourself that in this present moment, the past and the future simply do not exist.

If you can successfully be in the present moment during your scheduled relaxation periods of the day, then you can extend this new awareness to the other parts of your day. As you feel more and more comfortable spending time in the present you will begin to notice a better more fulfilling life awaits your enjoyment.

Do you want to learn the rest of the story? Natural Stress Relief Techniques

The Perfect Birthday Present for that Little Girl (No Batteries Required)

The Dilemma

As a mom of a five-year-old girl, I have attended countless birthday parties in the past few years. With each event, comes the inevitable trip to the toy store to find an appropriate gift for the child of honor. I began to dread the gift-buying process. Toys had either too many pieces, were too sophisticated, were too popular and bound to be duplicates, were too expensive, or just not cool enough (according to my resident expert). The toys my daughter received last year were played with once or twice and piled up in the closet along with the rest of the colorful plastic presents of the past.

The Answer: Dress-up Costumes!

With no small piece to be choking hazards, no instructions to read, no set up necessary, no batteries required and plenty of variety from which to choose, I had come up with a unique and perfect Birthday Present.

Every little girl dreams of being a princess and every little girl love to dress up in beautiful silky dresses, wear crowns, wave magic wands and dance around the house. But, dress-up costumes are not limited to princesses alone. With so many costumes to choose from, there is something special and unique for each child.

How To Pick The Right Costume

I have given many costumes as gifts and have found that you can’t go wrong giving a little girl a Barbie costume. However, here are some tips to make the perfect selection:

* Find out what TV shows the child likes to watch. Often, costumes of the main characters are available.

* Does the child have a favorite movie? There are numerous licensed movie costumes available.

* Be sure to buy an ‘Official Licensed Costume’ if available. This will help ensure that the child will be able to recognize the costume, as it will be made according to licensing specifications.

* Check the size and buy the right one. Nothing is more disappointing than receiving a costume and it not fitting. Make sure you buy the right size. If you are not sure, buy the larger size.

Power Up Your Power Point Presentations

Brian Fugere and several co authors wrote a great book titled Why Business People Speak Like Idiots, a look at the frightening world of corporate speak. I would like to suggest a sequel called Why Business People Create Slides that Put You to Sleep.

You’ve seen these people. You’ve probably been in their audiences. They have 495 slides which they read to you one by one in a monotone voice with no facial expression and expect you to follow along in a font that even your ophthalmologist couldn’t translate.

For starters, most of us can read by ourselves, thank you very much. Secondly, assuming we can read, maybe the presenter should just send us the slides and spare us the presentation?

Am I being too sarcastic? Perhaps. But, I spend most of my time coaching people through presentations and critical meetings for which they’ve spent a lot of time designing and perfecting slides, but little if any time thinking through their message. Creating slides is not communicating. According to the English dictionary, communicate means to “converse”, to “impart” or to “connect”. The only thing connective about most slide shows is the plug that you stick into the socket to make the projector run.

So, what is a presenter to do?

No One Came to See a Slide Show. Before you create a single slide, think about what you want to say. What do you want people to think, do, know or feel when you’re done speaking? If the slides crashed, could you still tell the story? If your answer is no, then your message is muddled and you don’t truly own your material. Write your talk first and then create slides that reinforce what you’re saying instead of using your slides as a script.

Talk, Don’t Read. Reading is for the eye. Listening is for the ear. It’s important to create slides that speak in phrases, not sentences so you talk instead of read. Eliminate words such as, if, the, in, on, and of. Instead, use 3 to 5 words per line to reinforce what you’re saying so people listen to you instead of reading the slide. Look for opportunities to reveal the lines to prevent people from reading ahead so you focus their attention where you want it.

Don’t put everything on the slide. What works in print doesn’t always translate to slides. Your job is to help listeners make sense of information. If you cram too much on the slide, they’ll be reading item Z while you’re still talking about item A. Instead of cutting and pasting data from a study, create colorful charts, graphs and pictures that highlight data, evoke emotion and make the information more relevant. That’s what listeners remember.

Think headline. Look at each slide and ask: “What’s the headline and what does it mean to the people in the room?” Then think about how to walk them through the information. For example: “Look at the purple box on the left compared to the yellow box on the right. It’s nearly double the size. That means we’ve doubled our profits.” While every slide doesn’t have to stand on its own, it must have a reason for being there such as setting up a point or driving home a message.

We don’t do it that way here. Just because others drone on doesn’t mean you have to be boring too. Think of every presentation as a huge opportunity to inform, persuade or sell your point of view. If a slide set has been designed for you, you should still look for ways to personalize the information and create moments that audiences remember. If you are required to present every single slide, that doesn’t mean you have to read every point. Provide an overview and tell the audience that details will be available in written form later.

Hit them over the head. Your first few words determine whether your audience tunes in or out. So, why do people need a slide to tell the audience what they are going to talk about? Don’t they know why they’re here? When you open your mouth, hit them over the head with a story or example that engages and grabs attention so they understand why they should care? Ask what’s in it for them?

Finally, create slides for people in the back of the room. Use color, big fonts and contrast. Remember, every time you speak, you’re on! Look for ways to stand out and set the bar a bit higher so people look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Copyright (c) 2008 Karen Friedman