“I’ve got one, two, three, four, five senses working overtime”
We can’t unplug. We’re overloaded with news, social media, traffic, queues, to-do lists, the next appointment, schedules, tomorrow’s to-do lists, next week’s problems.
The right here and the right now. That is where we are forgetting to be.
If we’re forgetting to be here, and worrying about being there, what are we missing in the meantime?
By not enjoying the present and missing all the small things in life, we are chasing a happiness that’s always somewhere on the horizon but never in the now. And it’s not making us happy, or healthy.
Here’s five ways to help reconnect us with the present moment. (Top Tip for ALL the below – put the phone down. In fact, put it out of your reach/sight completely).
Instead of being part of the hustle and the rush, put yourself outside of it even for 20 minutes. Stop, sit in a café or station with a tea or coffee and just watch people come and go. Don’t criticise, just watch the flow. This puts us in observation and thought mode. We learn, we notice small details and our imagination gets fired. We start creating little stories, scenarios and characters. We’re observing the present moment, not looking over its head to see what’s next. It’s a brilliant re-connector.
It works the same whether we’re in nature, travelling, waiting, queuing. Just take the time, and watch.
“Always keep your eyes open. Keep watching. Because whatever you see can inspire you.” Grace Coddrington
We think we do, but do we? Usually when someone is talking to us, we are in the future thinking about what we’re going to say next, or in the past remembering something said before. We’re very rarely in the here and now when we’re listening. Because it’s a passive action, we assume it’s not a skill. Oh, but it is. And it takes practice to really ‘hear’.
Practice listening to someone – notice tone of voice, body language, our internal reactions and how we feel about what’s being said. Notice our mind skips ahead to our response. Really listening is about stilling our mind’s noise. Being silent to listen, being present. Again, same in nature or music. Don’t just hear the birdsong, or some lyrics. Listen to them.
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain” Bob Marley
Choose one sense and indulge it.
If you choose taste, then eat something wonderful and slowly savour every mouthful. Have a love affair with that food whether it’s a fillet steak or baked beans on toast. Really feel and taste it.
Use incredible essential oils to awaken your sense of smell, and that seminal piece of music to arrest your hearing and touch your heart. Feast your eyes on a sunset or rise, an awesome landscape, a beautiful picture. Touch a fabric so soft it melts your fingers.
Whatever sense you focus on – indulge it. Feel it.
And boom, you’re right there in the moment.
“Touch has a memory” John Keats
In the evening, one of the best things we can do is quickly note down the moments we were engaged with that day. It doesn’t have to be an essay, or even a paragraph. Just a note, a few words.
..‘smell in the bakery’, ‘helpful woman on bus’, ‘best lasagne ever’, ‘sun over the roof’, ‘busker played Beatles’, ’clean house’, ‘couple in café ..
Keep all these little notes in one place. Sooner rather than later, we remember more things each day, because we’re more and more present each day.
“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”
Oscar Wilde – The Importance of Being Earnest
In taking so much for granted, we miss so many things that are amazing.
That train we take every day has become a chore, but who built it? Who imagined it at all? Where does the endless supply of clean water through our taps come from? Ever open the fridge or a cupboard and marvel at how full of lovely food it is?
How does carpet feel on our bare feet, or warm sand? How many bones are in our hands to make them work so well. Seriously – this is the stuff of life! Marvel at it every single day and there you are – present, here and now. Living and loving life.
“It never failed to amaze me how the most ordinary day could be catapulted into the extraordinary in the blink of an eye.” Jodi Picoult
Being mindful of our immediate present and the small joys it brings is more and more important as we navigate our paths through an accelerating world.
The more we remember it is a beautiful, awesome planet – and not a source of stress or loneliness, the happier we are and the harder we will fight to balance if not protect our life on this big, mad, green fabulous planet.
Here’s to the Here and now.