Because our presence is so important to the depth of love and joy we experience, here are four easy ways to stay present with your life.
“If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can do is be present in the present… gratefully.” – Maya Angelou
Staying in the present moment isn’t always easy, but it creates ease. It’s tempting to avoid painful moments, but if we stay with our emotions and observe life as it’s happening to us and around us, joy springs up from invisible wells. Our ability to enjoy what we have, who we are, and what we do is amplified when we make the present moment the focal point of our lives.
My presence is my power, and that’s why I’m intending to become more present with my life, one small mindful step at a time. Here are four easy-to-implement ways to stay present. Consider incorporating one practice (at a time) into your life to support your overall mindfulness practice and enhance your inner power to experience the fullness of life.
4 Easy Ways to Stay Present
“The present moment is the only moment available to us, and it is the door to all moments.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Use the image of an empty cup.
Hold this vision in your mind: You can’t fill a cup with the present moment when it’s already fully of yesterday’s stories and tomorrow’s thoughts. We can’t awaken to life in this moment if we’re dreaming about the past or future.
What’s pulling you from the present moment? What emotional state or story is filling your mind? Name it, and then recognize that it’s blocking you from noticing what’s in front of you; it’s filling your cup.
The beautiful things in life are usually hidden in plain sight–they’re hidden because we’re lost in another world, another time zone. If we shift our perception, by emptying our cup, we can see clearly all the little things unique to the emerging moment.
Practice emptying your cup.
Notice the thoughts flowing in and out of your mind. Notice your body and how it feels. Notice the sensations of everything around you. When you get caught up in your thoughts again, notice this too and empty your cup. Release what’s consuming you and soak in the moment again. Over and over, empty your cup.
See Everything as a Teacher.
When you feel frustrated with someone, stressed by a situation, anxious about an outcome, doubtful about your abilities, or pained by anything, take a deep breath. Pause. See this emotion, this situation, or this person as a teacher.
Life is an adventure and a series of experiments that help us to understand ourselves and the meaning of life.
- What can you learn from this place, this event, or this person?
- What can you learn about staying present?
- What can you appreciate about this moment that you might not have seen before?
- What stories, beliefs, and expectations are you holding on to? How is that attachment making you feel?
- What can you practice letting go of?
This is a practice that has served me greatly. Though it might sound strange to you (it did to me at first) it’s a practice that has supported my peace of mind in a huge way. It has made me quicker to accept, forgive, and appreciate.
Looking at our life experiences through the lens of learning is one of the most powerful ways to stay present and happy.
Set an Intention Before an Activity.
Before you do anything, pause before starting and set an intention for this activity. Check in with what you most want to feel, experience, and accomplish with this task.
- Where is your desire to do this coming from?
- How do you wish to feel while doing it, and after doing it?
- What do you hope to experience through this?
- Who might you like to help?
Setting an intention for an activity, I have found, increases the likelihood that I’ll stay present with the activity and enjoy it more thoroughly. For instance, if I exercise out of respect and care for my body, I’ll consider during my workout that this is nourishment for my body. If I cook dinner for my boyfriend out of love for him, I’ll enjoy the experience much more, and it helps me to stay present and focused on the meal I’m preparing.
“Now, I am.”
This is so simple. Whenever I’m doing anything, experiencing a strong emotion, relaxing or playing or working, I have begun to whisper to myself a grounding, powerful phrase: “Now, I am.”
Here’s what the phrase means to me:
- I am all here.
- I am focused on this (whatever “this” may be at that particular time).
- I am alive.
I’m consciously awake, fully alive, purposely and purposefully experiencing this moment. Doing this, I become mindful of the nuances of life here and now, which lends me a deeper and richer life experience. When I say, “Now, I am” I am gently encouraging myself to reorganize my energy and shift my perception so that all of myself is aligned with all of life.
The more you string together these mindful moments, the more positive connections you can make with others, the closer you will feel to your truth, the more joy you will find in the little things.
Take a brief moment for daily reflection; it will support your mindfulness practice.
- What are you struggling with? What resistance is coming up for you?
- Can you show up with an empty cup?
- What or who has been your teacher? What did you, or can you, learn?
- What intentions did you set before your activities?
Please share any other ways to stay present that work for you, lessons you’ve learned, benefits you’ve experienced from your present-mindedness, struggles and triumphs, and any stories with me in the comments.
Share this post with someone you care about.
Now, I am.