"Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life."
- Eckhart Tolle
The other day I was talking to a woman on the phone who expressed her longing to make some art. We had an entire conversation about the things she could create and how much she craved it, however when I asked her when she would do it she said: "Oh, I'm too busy with paperwork and obligations at home, I don't have the time. I have to find the time for it."
I was struck by two things. First, that she longed to engage in her creative side but wasn't making it a priority. And second, that she believed she had to find the time instead of understanding that it was her responsibility to make the time for the things she loves.
We've all done this to some extent before. I'll go running this weekend - tonight I need to finish this pile of paperwork. I'll go on vacation later in the year after my big project is complete. I'll go shopping for new clothes once I loose the ten pounds. I'll make time in my schedule for romance when I find the right person. I'll quit the corporate world to follow my dream after I make a little more money. I'll eat lunch after I finish these emails.
A COMMON OVERSIGHT
This is very common. The problem is that this is a passive approach to life. It assumes that things just happen to us or will happen if they're meant to be. It overlooks the fact that we create our own reality. I see this all the time with people and I'm guilty of forgetting this important responsibility myself at times. I talk to people on a regular basis who approach me about wanting to coach together. Many of them are ready to say YES to themselves and the life they truly want right now. I applaud them for it and I jump in with them right away. Yet many are hesitant to say YES to themselves right now. They know they want change, they know that what' they've been doing so far is not creating the level of fulfillment and excitement they want. Some have even moved on from the job, the relationship or the location that wasn't working for them. And yet, they believe that later is a better time to jump on the journey of YES to their DREAM LIFE. Later this year is a better time to engage in the personal work that will create fulfillment, empowerment, connection, purpose, joy and love. Later when I have more money. Later when I have more time. Later after I just do this one other thing. Really? The love of your life, the passion and purpose, health and energy you crave can wait until later?
A HARD TRUTH
Over time what happens is that nothing changes. The dream relationship, job, home, health, balance, etc. do not just show up. We fail to engage in making the necessary changes in our life now, so... things stay the same. Unfortunately, later never happens.
ARE YOU LETTING YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES RUN YOUR SHOW?
This cycle of being stuck where you don't want to be occurs for several reasons. The first is due to the fear of moving forward (ie "what if I fail", etc.). The second is because we think that everything has to be perfect or figured out before we can do what we truly want. Each of these reasons are separate topics that warrant their own blog posts and I will write more about them in the future. The third and major reason that most people put fulfillment off for later is because they believe that their circumstances determine how they live and what choices they get to make. People believe that they cannot afford to take a vacation, set boundaries or engage in activities that bring them joy because of family, work, money, health issues or other responsibilities. While indeed there are some circumstances that we cannot change, more often than not, we are in the drivers seat of our own lives and it is our responsibility to choose what we make a priority and what we don't. Your happiness is not waiting for you out there somewhere in the future. Your happiness is yours now and it will continue to be available in the future if you start allowing for it to exist today.
Later never comes. This is because we continue to engage in the patterns that we are involved in today. In fact, today is yesterday's later. Are you on vacation in Hawaii? Are you feeling the breeze touch your face on that afternoon walk or covered in clay in that pottery class? Are you in the relationship or job of your dreams? Most people are not. We must be intentional and make the conscious choice to prioritize pleasure in the midst of work and responsibilities. It doesn't just happen on it's own. We must create room for it, prioritize it, schedule it, pay the money for it and seize it now.
I'm not saying that you need to engage in reckless, irresponsible behavior that threatens your stability or well-being. Rather, I am inviting you engage in what you long for now. Don't wait. Do it anyways, in addition to everything else. Take a much needed short vacation this weekend. Indulge in morning meditation before you check your email or phone. Make room in your closet for your ideal lover now even though you've never met them. Pay for the class you are dying to take even though you don't know how you can afford it. I guarantee you that doing so will light a fire in you to work harder and generate the extra income you need. I guarantee you that your determination to heal your heart and find your mate will become unstoppable. I guarantee you that the joy you get from painting for 20 minutes today will give you that extra energy you need to finish the rest of your tasks around the house. That is the magic of now.
THE POWER OF ENGAGING IN THE NOW: A USEFUL TRICK & 2 SUCCESS STORIES
You can start practicing all of the above by creating what I like to call "in-between" moments. These are moments throughout the day that we insert into more structured, daily routines. You can create an "in-between" moment in the middle of a busy work day, while you are with your kids, in overwhelming social situations, anywhere. They can be as short as a deep breath and as long as a week's vacation.
To illustrate the power of this practice, I am inspired to share two client success stories. I have two clients each of whom used to power through working at their desk all day, making them tired and resentful at the end of the day. They begun practicing taking a break from their desk to get a glass of water or take a walk around the block outside to breath in fresh air. They would insert these refreshing moments "in-between" everything else they were doing. This helped them become balanced and allowed them build the muscle of engaging in the now. Over time, this muscle became so integrated into their daily life that they began to honor their dreams fully. A simple break for fresh air was no longer enough. One of these clients ended up leaving the corporate job that she didn't like and branching out on her own to become a successful and happy solo-prenuer. The other client learned invaluable lessons around creating and expressing boundaries which ultimately gave her the confidence to heal important relationships with loved ones and create deeper connections in her life. Wow - all of this from engaging in the now!
START THE REST OF YOUR LIFE NOW
One of my favorite movie quotes comes from the movie When Harry Met Sally. It is in the scene towards the end of the movie in which Harry runs across town to profess his love to Sally. He says to her: "When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." I invite you to take on this attitude towards your life and your dreams. Engage in them now. Give them your attention, your time, your money and your energy in the smallest and biggest ways you can imagine. Go for it! Don't wait until later. You will be enormously grateful that you allowed yourself to experience more joy, freedom, balance, health and purpose in between all of life's other moments.
I am excited to hear what opens up for you in the now! Please share your comments and questions below.