Eleanor Roosevelt seems to have become my source of wisdom recently. It’s unintentional but her words just keep popping up and are so damned poignant.
Like this quote for example. On my desk is a wisdom 365 calendar and today’s page contained these wonderful words. Thought provoking at the best of times, but given that yesterday was a day spent mourning the tragic and violent killing of over 20 people, and injury of many more in the Manchester bombing, it seemed especially poignant.
A big part of the work that I do is about teaching people to appreciate their lives in the here and now and that’s something I think is really important for so so many reasons. But let’s be honest, the most important one of those is about today, and about what that means for your life overall.
As we’re shown time and time again, none of us can guarantee how many years, weeks, days and hours we have here on Earth; the only time we know we have for certain is the very moment that we’re in. So doesn’t it make sense to do all that we can with it?
To find ways embrace every single moment of our present as and when it happens?
I know that’s not always easy to do; too often our present moments are interrupted by pain, regret and upset from the past or by panic and stress about the future. Gods, it’s exactly why I tend to break the work I do down into three pretty distinct phases focusing on not only the present, but on the past and the future too, and don’t get me wrong, I KNOW how important those other two parts are… my very last blog post was all about the importance of healing your past to make your present a happier place to be!
For a lot of people it’s the future part of that work, the finding the perfect relationship for you and creating your own happy ever after, that’s the end goal, but I’m going to be honest with you here – I kind of disagree.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a HUGE fan of creating the life of your dreams and believe that that’s both possible and wonderful (in fact I’ve just done out my hallway as a little temple of manifestation right in the centre of my house, but more on that another day) but for me an absolutely critical step to that is in appreciating your present. And more, that part of the work brings even more benefits along the way.
It gives you the perspective to stay positive and focused on even the toughest of days, and it’s scientifically proven that a more positive outlook on life is likely to bring you better health, more opportunities and greater success. But even more than those things, learning to fully be in and appreciate every moment means that we recognise each and every one of those positives – and so many more besides – as they happen, making the moments of our lives even more special than they already are.
I’ve kept a gratitude diary – a nightly list of at least five things (note: there are never just five) that I’m grateful for throughout that day – for a few years now. But recently I’ve started taking that one step further and reminding myself to be grateful in the moment too.
My new routine involves my morning dog walk; usually a time for either running through my to do list for the day, wandering myself off into a daydream about how I’d like that day to go, or being distracted by whatever I’ve just read on social media before leaving the house.
Over the last few weeks though I’ve trained myself into a new way of thinking on that way. Rather than any of that I take the time to just be….
I start by working through my physical body, from my toes right up to the top of my head, focusing on each part in turn and tuning in to exactly how it feels. Then I work outwards to my energetic body – how am I feeling, is there anything hanging in there I want to delve into once this moment is over and done. And then I look outside of me – I take some time to look around me, to listen, to smell, and then to really feel what is going on around me; the ground under my feet, the temperature, the air around me.
It’s not a complicated routine, and it definitely doesn’t make me a master of mindfulness, but I’ve found that it does make a difference. Instead of starting the day off stressed and frustrated I feel more in tune with myself; I head back into the house already grateful for the gorgeous world around me and ready to get stuck into whatever I have planned for the day; and I feel more alive.
Of course that’s a pretty specific way to live in the moment and appreciate each one as it happens, and there are tonnes more techniques along the same lines, and others that focus on completely different ways of appreciating our lives right now no matter what else may or may not be going on.
But however you get there, it’s that appreciation that’s most important, because it brings with it the reminder that life is there to be lived, embraced and enjoyed for this moment and every other one we’re lucky enough to have.
And you know once we crack that code we’ll find that the future starts to take care of itself; we can fit more in, we enjoy what we already have, and along the way we start to attract even more of what we want.
The truth is that none of us know how many grains of sand are left in our hour glass. Which makes embracing your present and everything within it, the most poignant and beautiful self love practice we have.