To be fully present is to notice what is happening in the moment. This may seem obvious, but it is hard to do. We tend to overlay the present with regrets from the past and anxiety about the future. In looking behind and ahead, we can’t effectively engage in the now, and make meaningful choices that will lead us forward.
If you are experiencing any type of grief due to loss or an unwanted change in your life, I highly recommend Aurora Winter’s book, Grief Relief in 30 Minutes. She calls her model for grief recovery, the Peace Method. The ‘P’ is for being present and is the first step in healing.
“The present moment is the path to happiness. The present moment is the only point at which you can choose things that will create the future that you want.”
There are many means to move into the present such as, meditation, mindfulness, prayer, breathing exercises, and physical exercise. All of these are wonderful tools. In addition to these, there is a short exercise I use with my clients that I invite you to try.
Write down your observations in no particular order about what comprises your present reality. Connect them using and. Give yourself permission to create a huge run-on sentence!
It’s Not All Bad
The purpose of connecting your observations in one sentence is to underscore that what we deem as bad or good can coexist in the same space and at the same time. When we are immersed in grief, it can be hard to notice what is good. We may even feel guilty about acknowledging we feel joyful about something.
My statement is:
My dad has lung cancer, and the prognosis is not good, and the holidays are approaching, and I am single, and I have incredible friends, and my mother is healthy, and a good friend is very sick, and I am sad, and I am grateful for many things, and I have wonderful work that fulfills me.
Now review what you have written and challenge its truth by asking, “What is the objective proof?” For example, if you wrote, “I will always be single”, that wouldn’t be true as you can’t possibly know that. Go back and change the sentence to read, “I am single.” If you wrote, “my kids hate me”, look for proof that it is hatred instead of anger.
When you acknowledge what is truly present, you are ready to start engaging with whatever is there. What are the possibilities or the hidden opportunity?