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There is a lot to the art of being, and yet the simplicity of simply being is astounding. Being can be as easy as sitting on a beach, watching the waves flow, feeling the sun warming your skin. And yet it can be terribly hard; because true beingness means to be present in the moment. No past. No future. Just now.

Sometimes, our minds wish to live in the past, glorifying days of old and past accomplishments. There is nothing wrong with reminiscing; however, if I think my life was better in the past, and I dwell on those days, I am missing out on the beauty of life in the present. There is always more to experience; more to achieve.

Other times, our minds wish to live in the future. When we do this, we believe our happiness is secured when we achieve some goal. I will be happy when I loose 10 pounds, when I grow my hair out, when I can leave my job. The problems is that in thinking this way, I am effectively saying I will not be happy until my goal is achieved. Why would I choose out of potential happiness available in my present day?

When I choose to live in the present moment, I can let go of guilt or sadness over things that happened in the past. I can let go of fear about what will happen in the future. I only hold on to what is happening now. If I don’t like how I am feeling, I change what I am doing. My thoughts will not involve past or future, there is only now. Boom! I have complete control over my happiness, if I choose to live in the present.

Living in the present moment means that I can find beauty in everyday things. When was the last time I sat an looked at clouds, just allowing them to flow into and out of my awareness? When was the last time I put down all distractions, and simply listened to the birds singing outside? When was the last time that I sat and pet an animal, my palm experiencing the texture of their coat, with no other thoughts in my head? Each of these experiences carry a richness, a beauty, that gets lost when my head dwells on things of the past or things of the future.

My gift to you today is to list 5 easy ways to enjoy the present moment:

  • Set your phone alarm for five minutes. Then put the phone down and breathe. Concentrate on your breath, feel it as it moves through your body. Notice the coolness as it enters your nostrils, and the warmth of your exhale. If a thought flows into your head, notice it and let it go. Keep breathing until the alarm dings.
  • Take a walk in nature, preferably alone. Take time to notice the beauty of the land; look for wildlife; stop and sit to take it all in; to feel gratitude for the beauty of nature. Notice the way the sun glints through the leaves of the trees; that hidden spiderweb nestled in the branch, the bugs that hover around the tree branches.
  • Play like a child! Jump rope, swing, building blocks, coloring; these things are both focused and filled with fun! When we are focused, or when we have fun, we are present in the moment.
  • Write, paint, draw, sing, sew, knit, play music – do a hobby you enjoy for one hour per week, even if you can only do it for 15 minutes at a time. Being focused on something you love doing is a great way to be present.
  • Be mindful when you have your morning coffee or tea. Sit for five or ten minutes. Notice the world around you. Is it quiet or loud? Notice the smell of the coffee or tea. Feel the warmth of the cup in your hands. Taste the beverage; enjoy the flavor; feel the warm liquid as it travels down your throat. Simply be, and enjoy that moment.

The more often you access these moments of mindfulness, the more you will come to appreciate the world arounds you. May you be blessed!