Carpe Diem, Live in the Moment, Amor Fati
Is all of this “living in the moment” stuff the key to a happy life, or is it working to my detriment? I’m a single-income entrepreneur trying to grow my business and my savings account, living on the expensive West Coast with a dog who eats better than most people do—does that mean I should spend more time contemplating and living for the future?
The most reliable way to predict the future is to create it
Nah! I think I’ll stick to being an “in the moment girl“. Being in the present doesn’t mean being separate from the past or the future. And it’s not about doing what you want, when you want. It’s savouring the moments while you’re living them. It’s about being fully present during a conversation, soaking up your Sunday dinner without worrying about tomorrow or next week, being fully immersed in tasks while working on them, and it’s about giving your heart the freedom to feel how it wants to feel.
We can be present while still mindfully planting seeds for the future. This as opposed to being so caught up, distracted and overwhelmed by thoughts of the future that we miss out on life. The art of living in the moment whilst still considering past and future is learning to identify productive, creative and helpful thinking versus unproductive, unhelpful and upsetting thinking.
The presence approach
Living in the moment—also called mindfulness—is about focusing your awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Whatever you’re doing or thinking, you put emphasis on being self-aware. When you’re looking into the future, observe your thoughts, feelings and behavior in that moment. Too much planning causes us start to question ourselves; what we really want; what we should be doing—and we risk losing ourselves. The trick is to go inside yourself and explore your authentic feelings, and from that space, gently sketch plans and make moves that will plant positive seeds for your future.
Attaining lasting happiness requires that we enjoy the journey on our way toward a destination we deem valuable. Happiness is not about making it to the peak of the mountain nor is it about climbing aimlessly around the mountain; happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak. — Tal Ben-Shahar
Being in the moment and high output living are not mutually exclusive. You can live a productive and peaceful heart-centred life. This because mindfulness has actually been proven to increase focus, productivity, creativity, joy as well as reduce stress.
Don’t should all over yourself
Should-ing on yourself happens when you do what you think others expect you to do, despite what your heart and gut are telling you, and it’s rooted in a sense of guilt or in a hope of gaining approval from others. The other popular way people should all over themselves involves re-living past mistakes over and over again, saying, “I should have done this” or “I should have done that.”
Believe in yourself
The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people isn’t intelligence, planning or resources. It’s the belief that they can make shit happen. We all deal with doubt, vulnerability, and failure. However, the formula for living your best (Zesty) life comes through trusting that if we make moves forward from our authentic self, we’ll figure it out. It’s about living with heart-centred confidence.
I’ve always followed the path that seemed right to me at the time. I took risks and I didn’t let fear get in my way. Over the years I’ve come to understand the magic in placing a lesser degree of value on conforming and “what makes the most sense”, and more emphasis on making decisions with my heart. Sure, I’ve made mistakes, but the more you know yourself and take away lessons each time, the better choices you make—by living with a heart-centred approach I’ve found it brings more of what you’re looking for into your life. It sounds like a woo-woo hippie law of attraction thang, but it’s simply a way of trusting your unique greatness instead of judging and analyzing yourself into a box.
Make the moment count
Planning for the future is important and necessary. However, it’s important to remember that you’re not living in the future, you’re living in the now… And before too long, you’ll be looking back on these days—perhaps wishing you’d soaked them up a little better. No matter how much you plan you never know for sure how life is going to play out. The only thing you know for sure is the present moment—so make it count.
Moment to Moment Lessons
Let go of doubts and disruptive behaviours to sink into pure existence and have a pure experience.
Being in the moment in a relationship means we understand that a relationship’s success is not defined by its length. It’s defined by how much we allow ourselves to open our hearts, be vulnerable, learn, grow, and positively impact each other’s lives. Every relationship offers us a chance to learn more about love, about ourselves, and about being human.
I’m not the best at conflict, I’m like a deer caught in headlights, but I understand the value in learning to handle challenging situations for the sake of growth and understanding. The best course of action is to bring awareness to the moment—take a deep breath to pause to consider your words before you blurt them out, have self-awareness of your triggers and reactions, and speak from a place of authentic loving kindness. Mindfulness means knowing thoughts and emotions are natural, but that they will settle if you don’t immediately react to them.
“A man who knows himself can step outside of himself and watch his own reaction like an outsider.” —John Adams
Dwelling on mistakes is the number one distraction for athletes. It’s impossible to perform in the zone if your mind is stuck on a missed opportunity, an error or the outcome. The trick is to focus on your physical sensations— the fluidity of movement, and your body sensations. Trust your skills and flow with the present moment.
People pride themselves on being a multitasker, but when was the last time you gave 100% of your attention to something? Not only is multitasking more stressful, it’s less productive than singletasking. One way to think about time is like money; you can’t buy a $20 shirt and $20 pair of jeans with the same $20 bill. Each of these things costs $20, and there’s no way to magically condense that. And so, like any resource, if you can’t increase how much of it you have, you need to thoughtfully manage what you do have.
- Plant authentic seeds within each moment
- Savour each moment
- Sketch an idea of your desired future
- Spend time with people who resonate with your values and vision
- Check-in with yourself and ensure you’re being yourself in every situation and moment