“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
Think about this for a moment, my darlings: the present moment is where we have “an appointment with life” as Thich Nhat Hanh is known for saying. After all, the past no longer exists and neither does the future. Yet, many of us live somewhere between the two… with one foot in the past and one in the future.
What happens when this occurs? We are either depressed or anxious. Sad or worried. Rather than being so fully steeped in present moment awareness and the joy and happiness that can be found there, we are living in some imaginary place where life does NOT exist.
Enjoying and basking in the joys that are ever so present in our lives, even during difficult times, takes practice. It takes work to undo the havoc we’ve created by doing all the things that keep us from being mindful and fully engaged in our everyday lives. I like to say that we are so caught up in “do-ing” that we have forgotten the subtle art of “be-ing.” We’ve gotten so far removed from the simplicity of life!
Instead, we allow ourselves to get caught up in “stuff” that is devoid of meaning. The minutia that robs us of quality life and quality time with ourselves and our loved ones. These are the stressors in our lives. The things that require endless work and drain us of our life energy. And guess what? It’s a choice we make. Yep, we choose our behaviors. And what we allow, persists!
The more important question is: WHY do we allow ourselves to get caught up in the things that keep us from being front and center in our own lives?
For some, it may be the fear of missing out while for others it may be the inability to be enjoy their own company. Some of us may actually enjoy the chaos, maybe even create it, and others may just throw their hands up and feel that there’s nothing they can do about it. And yet for some, running from the present moment can be a defense mechanism which keeps them from “feeling.”
One thing I know for sure is that, when we allow ourselves to get caught up in the vicious cycle that tears us away from our joy and happiness, it is because we are lacking inner clarity. In my book, inner clarity is part of self-care. And the art of self-care is also a practice.
If you are not sure where or how to start, fear not! As with all things divinely ordained, I just finished reading an email from Panache Desai, and in it he listed six steps to help us maintain inner clarity.
- Avoid chaotic and stressful situations. All they serve to do is derail your focus and draw you into their chaos.
- Calm and center yourself several times a day through a habit of conscious breathing. Doing so, lowers stress and reminds you of who you really are and why you’re really here.
- Unplug yourself at least once a week from all devices, social media and news cycles. We are drowning in information, much of it increasingly negative. Step away from what’s secondary and focus on what’s primary.
- Go out into nature. We are natural beings. We are meant to be in forests, at the seashore and in the open. We are not meant to be tied to screens and cubicles and artificial lighting.
- Get as much sleep as you can. Sleep is restorative. Sleep is relaxing. Sleep is necessary to mental and physical health. A lack of sleep can lead to a lack of focus and clarity more than any other cause.
- Get as much exercise as you can. We were meant to move. When we move, we are using our bodies, and our minds, as they are supposed to be used. When you are sedentary, your mind and your body become clogged with sediment. Exercise flushes out the unnecessary, leaving you lighter
If you take the time to use these steps as a guide and make them a part of your everyday coming and going, I can assure that you will start to to feel refreshed, renewed, vibrant, energetic, joyous, expansive, peaceful and clear. Invest in your Self, my darlings…you’re worth it!
Inhale Love & Light… Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC