IN THE NOW: How I Learned To Live Moment By Moment

Photo source: The Beauty Bean

This weekend, I chose to challenge myself by doing something that I'm admittedly terrible at. This weekend I told myself that no matter what, I was going to stay in the present. No pondering about the past, and no fretting about the future. I was going to stop and smell the roses in life - the ones that are blooming right now - and I was going to enjoy it, dammit.

The impetus behind this self-imposed challenge was because I have been finding myself overly stressed about what was and (even moreso) what will be. Call it the effects of my Saturn Return (if you follow astrology), but lately life has been a clusterfuck of dreams, goals, omens, and emotions; of evaluating the past and trying to envision what's to come. I've been making vision boards, creating game plans, crossing items off of my life's To Do list. I've been doing that precarious dance between two opposing quotes: "A failure to plan is a plan to fail" and "if you want to make God laugh, tell Him/Her your plans" - and on Friday, I realized I was tired. I just didn't want to think, plan, or worry for a while, so I decided to just stop.

Friday night, I enjoyed the evening by lying on my couch, watching episodes of A Different World on YouTube (I can so be the Whitley to HomieLoverFriend's Dwayne), and eating hamburgers, fries and cupcakes. If a thought crept into my mind about doing anything related to my future, I rejected it. You know that carnival game called Whack-A-Mole, where the goal is to hit moles that pop out of holes at random? That was me with my thoughts on Friday night. I really should be researching my next pitch - WHACK. I should check my email to see if next week's meeting got confirmed - WHACK. Bills are due soon, right? WHACK WHACK WHACK. I put the future on pause and relished in the now. Lounging on my couch like a beautiful woman out of a Mickalene Thomas painting with everything I needed in that moment was the best feeling ever.

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Saturday morning, I woke up and did something that I haven't done in a long time - I relaxed. I laid there, looked up at the ceiling, and let the sun bathe me through our east-facing window. Instead of jumping out of bed, firing up the laptop, and working on my next goal to take over the world, I just laid there. The silence was only broken by HomieLoverFriend's deep breathing, and in an effort to try to practice my relaxation skills, I matched my breathing to his. With each slow inhale, I gave thanks for something I was grateful for right now. With each slow exhale, I released any stress or negativity. At first I identified what each exhale represented - work, troubled relationships, etc. - but found that my breath quickened and I was off track. Those moles had popped back up, as each identification either took me to a place in the past or future where I didn't want to be. So I just kept breathing, and kept letting the sun wash over me until I felt like doing something else. The rest of the day was spent enjoying each moment, and not thinking too hard about the next.

As I write this, my Sunday isn't over yet, but I'm remembering my brief stumbles last night. I let self-doubt creep in which had me questioning my gifts and goals, and my mind went immediately into "worrying about the future" overdrive. I dropped dollars on ingredients for a fancy dinner, only to find that my stove decided to stop working - I was super-stressed that things didn't go as planned, and was pissed at having to spend extra money to order a pizza. But, I recovered. I remembered my goal for the weekend was just to enjoy the moment. Once my stove gets fixed today, I'm prepared to make the bomb dinner tonight. And as for that self-doubt thing? Well, the most I could do was hop over it like I do the subway grates on the sidewalk. Yes, that self-doubt was there, but no, I wasn't going to let it get in my way. I told myself, "You're fabulous right now", and kept that thought by my side.

With the start of the new work week on Monday, we inevitably move into go-getter mode, and I'm sure I won't be able to resist. At my core, I'm a determined and ambitious person, but this weekend proved to me that I can do well with unshackling myself from my laptop, and leaving the addiction to worrying and over-planning behind. This weekend actually felt longer than usual, and I think the fact that I chose to dwell in each moment without speeding through to get to the next had something to do with that. Something to think about, no?

Think for a minute: have you ever truly taken the time to simply enjoy the here and now, without worrying about the future or the past? 

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