Can you believe we’re halfway through the week already? It’s been a quick one for me, mainly because I’ve had about 32 hours of living planned for each 24 cycle I got. You know how it is. It all looks so good “on paper” until you actually start trying to do it all. There are lessons at every turn, so I’m taking notes and intentionally planning differently for the weeks to come. Since being mindful is about not getting caught up in thoughts about the future, however, I’m also making some intentional changes in the here and now.
The future’s just an idea, you know. If you’re looking for real, this moment is it.
Mindfulness helps bring your focus into the present moment. Since you’re here reading this, this probably isn’t breaking news for you. When life has you running from here to there and back again, on your hustle from sun-up to sundown, the present may not seem like a great spot to click into. Looking ahead and planning for the future creates the illusion of control when things in your immediate surroundings are in flux. It makes you think the future will be different. But if you don’t get a handle on your present, then you’re kidding yourself with that, because you know what the future’s gonna look like when it gets here?
Yup. The present.
The pro tip I’ve been working with this week to manage my overflowing agenda and to-do lists is adjustment. Sure, I’m making (non-judgmental!) observations about how I got here in the first place, for future reference. I’m also, however, asking myself what I can do right now to change the present. Am I about to do something that is going to throw the rest of my day off schedule? If so, is it necessary? Is it a priority? What is the benefit of moving ahead with it? If it’s gotta stay, is there something else on the immediate, short-term list that isn’t necessary, and can take a hike instead?
I’ve erased a few things from the list this week that, when I was honest with myself, were nice-to-do but not need-to-do. I made those choices by weighing a variety of factors. Sometimes it was purely about timing – this thing is happening sooner than that thing – and sometimes it was about a deeper sense of priority. I made plans to go for a run, but my body said yoga instead, which requires a little more time. I felt like working on a marketing project because it was fun, but the budget needed attention more urgently.
The answers are there, but you have to ask the questions, and you have to be fully paying attention enough to hear the response.
The future can be really exciting, but the present moment is where all the decisions happen. It’s where the real action is. Fortunately, it’s also exactly where you are. You’re never lost, because it travels with you. When your thoughts sweep you up and cause you to forget that for a moment, all you need to come back are your attention, your intention and your breath.
Inhale, exhale, and just like that, you have arrived.
Photo credit: sasint