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  • SuePattonThoele

Staying in the Moment

Are you adept at spending most of your time in the moment, or do you wander off into what author Hugh Prather referred to as “rehearsing difficulties to come?” Most of us habitually spend our time reflecting on what happened in the past or fretting about what may occur in the future. Interestingly, fear loves to hang out in both the past and the future but is less comfortable in the here and now. Courage, on the other hand, almost always resides in the current moment. We can think about past courageous acts or imagine how we might be courageous in the future, but we are courageous moment by moment.

Given that reality, one of the best ways to tame fear is to live in the moment as much as possible. A friend of mine is terribly afraid of speaking in front of people. If she knows she will be making an announcement at church, she is fearful until the task is completed. If she’s asked to speak on the spur of the moment, after the initial shock, she does just fine. In the moment, she has the courage and ability. In anticipation, she fears she doesn’t have either.

Okay, living in the moment sounds great, but how do we actually do it? As with many, many things in life, awareness is the key. We need to be aware of where our thoughts are, which means we need to have the courage to live mindfully. If you become aware your thoughts have strayed into the past or are forging ahead into the future, you can consciously choose to bring your awareness back to this moment, back into the here and now.

We are only truly alive now. Yesterday’s self is a memory and tomorrow’s is a mystery.

During your day...

  • If you notice yourself feeling edgy or fearful, bring your attention into the here and now. Become aware of your surroundings, the temperature, what you can see, whether your body is sitting or standing. After a minute or two, return your attention to your feelings. Are they the same or maybe a little different?

  • Set an alarm on your phone for a few different times during the day. When it chimes, mindfully return to the present moment if you’re not already there.

A few mindful moments make a world of difference.

Excerpted from The Woman's Book of Strength by Sue Patton Thoele. Available on Mango and Amazon.


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