I’m back! The two weeks I spent in Italy were glorious and a much-needed, lovely time. It really brought me back to the beauty of what I’m going to talk about today: being present and enjoying the moment.
Not only is Italian life often about the enjoyment of the now, and about cultivating relationships and embracing what you love, but I also coincidentally ran into the theme while I was at the library the other day. Multiple people in the past had recommended to me the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, and apart from downloading a short free excerpt from the Kindle store to my Kindle, I hadn’t yet gotten a copy of it. While walking back to meet my boyfriend after my knitting group, I found myself in the audiobook aisle, and I decided to grab their copy of Power of Now on CD.
I haven’t listened to the entire book yet, as I only borrowed it two days ago, but I spent the majority of my day yesterday soaking in the information. It’s really an amazing read, and I managed to be super-efficient as well by walking from my house to the grocery store to pick up supplies for my impending dinner party last night, with the audiobook running from my iPhone. I managed to enjoy the gorgeous spring weather and get my workout in while both “reading” and taking care of errands. It felt fantastic!
My only qualm about walking outside with your headphones on? It doesn’t allow you to truly be present, which is ironic, because you can’t hear the birds or the wind and all the other lovely nature sounds going on around you. You’re in your head and absorbed in your own little world, which is the opposite of being present.
So why recommend so strongly a book on spiritual enlightenment? Isn’t this blog about healing? Well, sure. But I believe in healing as the result of holistic attention — develop health inside of you, and the exterior recuperation will follow. As you nurture your entire self, mind, body, and spirit, your physical and emotional conditions have no other choice but to foster their own betterment.
Okay, so, what’s being present got to do with anything? It allows you to focus and zero in on what it is exactly you’re doing — believe me, I know how ineffective it is to repetitiously exercise a muscle over and over and over and over again with a fuzzy mind. Yes, my brain will record all those repetitions as it should, but being deliberate with form and quality of movements will ultimately yield the best results. (This is why Dr. Amen of Making a Good Brain Great says, “Perfect practice makes perfect.”)
Also, you have to make your therapy enjoyable. Get an accountability partner that will hold you to your promised routines by joining you while you do them. (Most productivity coaches I find will preach finding accountability partners that check up on you regularly, but I personally find the most motivation in personal relationships.) Get a gym partner, or go on walks with your neighbor as he walks his dog. Go to a yoga class! (I’m going to my first group yoga class on Saturday morning.)
Choose happiness. I’m stealing this, actually, from Lisa B. Marshall (“The Public Speaker”), whose public speaking podcast I love. (I admit I have a bit of a podcast addiction.) When you’re feeling frustrated — like I did two days ago trying to give myself a manicure and ended up covering both hands in varnish — take a moment to breathe. Breathing is great because you can’t do it in the past or in the future. Breathing is always in the now, and it’ll suck you back to the present. Remind yourself to focus on what you can do and forget about what you can’t. This is only your current situation, and you can change that.
Also, remember that with inaction, if it’s not getting better, it’s getting worse. I covered this in a previous post. An interesting piece of advice Mr. Tolle gives regarding the inevitable feelings of indolence is to embrace it. Allow yourself to feel listless and lazy, and let yourself be it to its fullest. Just do nothing, put on lounge pants, watch an episode of your favorite sitcom, eat something. The shameless and unapologetic inactivity will have been acknowledged and “enjoyed,” so to speak, and you’ll soon snap out of it. I find this to be so true; there are some days where I’m just like, “I’d like to sleep all day,” and then earlier than I know it, I get anxious and pop out of bed.
The concept of embracing the now is a broad one — obviously, if Eckhart Tolle could base most of his writing career on it — and there’s no way I can cover it all in enough detail in one post. So I’ll leave you with this quote: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that’s why they call it the present.”
To our healing,