ALREADY KNOW how important it is to live in the present moment.
But what does living in the moment really look like? Feel like? And,
most important, how do you actually do it?
the time, our disconnection from the present moment is unconscious.
We spend a large part of our lives blocking out what we don't want
to acknowledge and accept. Difficult emotions, most of the time, are
at the root of what we resist. In resisting emotion, we not only lose
our connection to the present moment, but also to our vitality, our
innate joy, and our power to heal and grow.
practices are designed to help you find out when, where, and why you
might have shut down, and then to bring you back to life as swiftly
and enjoyably as possible.
some pressure-free time to play with these practices. Their effects
will be cumulative. At a level deeper than everyday awareness, your
being will begin to blossom. You will feel more peace, love, and contentment
than you previously thought possible.
Change a Routine
we do something the same way, over and over, it tends to become rote.
This bars us from the potential liveliness in the activity, as well
as from the moment in which it’s happening. Even a slight shift
in the way we perform activities can snap us to attention. With more
attention comes renewed presence, along with the fulfillment that presence
The PRACTICE: Pick a daily routine–perhaps your morning stretch,
your route to work, or the way you brush your teeth. For the next few
days, make a conscious choice to change one part of that routine. You
might squeeze the toothpaste with your other hand, for instance, or
reverse your usual order of brushing. Make the change something that
requires your full attention, and make it different every day. Does
the activity become more interesting? More pleasant?
many times have you craved one of your favorite foods, waited all day
till you could have it, and then experienced no real enjoyment because
your mind began wandering even before the first bite? Such “absent
eating” is the norm, but it doesn’t have to be. Choosing
to pay close attention to the act of eating rewards us with the most
delicious type of presence.
The PRACTICE: For a week, stay entirely focused on the experience of
eating through at least part of each meal. This includes smelling, tasting,
savoring, chewing, swallowing, and pausing between bites. When your
mind drifts, as it inevitably will, avoid any self-criticism and just
gently return your focus to the food in front of you. If you enjoy this
practice, consider making it a part of every meal.
Draw with Your Opposite Hand
every one of us there’s a child. Not the “inner child”
of psychology but a wild-eyed innocent for which each day offers a host
of new chances to learn, grow, try, fail, and try again. It’s
possible to evoke this child and the latent aliveness it possesses by
purposely performing a task at which we’re blessedly bumbling
PRACTICE: Use a few big sheets of paper and some smooth writing markers.
Begin by writing your name a number of times with your non-dominant
hand. Let the feelings of awkwardness take you over. Have fun with them.
Once you really do feel like a little kid trying to master a skill as
yet far beyond your reach, draw with the same hand for at least ten
minutes. As a part of this practice, fully embrace whatever thoughts,
feelings, memories, and associations arise.
Play with Your Voice
human voice is like a thousand-piece orchestra, capable of an infinite
variety of sounds. Each sound the voice makes connects us to a different
emotional or sensory state. Ordinarily we keep our voices within a very
narrow range. Taking them beyond that range brings a sense of deeper
and wider possibility to each passing moment.
The PRACTICE: Find a location where no one else can hear you. Then start
humming, whooping, chirping, and clucking, making every sound that comes
to mind. Range all across the scale, from deep bass to high falsetto,
from faint whisper to full volume. Every time you feel silly, stupid,
or self-conscious, just bow to the sensation and keep going. Let one
sound shift into another until you don’t know what’s coming
next, until the sounds are leading you.
How Now: 100 Ways to Celebrate the Present Moment
is available online at www.HowNow100.com.
a beautiful, poetic E-Card FREE from Raphael's