I moved around much of my life when I was growing up. That was one of the costs of living in a military family. I think it’s changed in recent times, as military leaders now understand that keeping families in the same area is good for military efficiency, and it’s good for their families.
Moving around meant resetting. One year we lived in Virginia. The next, in Maryland. A few years later, back to Virginia. Then Japan. I often wondered what life was like for the person who grew up in one hometown shaped by a shared community – one root with many branches. My experience growing up was different. I was good friends with people, but only for a short time. My community shifted with every relocation. I was transplanted time and time again, nurtured chiefly by a strong nuclear family, a few close albeit transitory friends, and visits with extended family. Someone who grows up with the familiarity of a stable community environment learns very differently from someone who learns through instability. That’s what moving constantly is – intentional instability.
In the months since the pandemic hit, I have felt more alive and connected to the present moment than ever before. In many ways, my upcoming primed me for this as I’ve experienced various life upheavals and transitions where I’ve been forced to chart new territory and work through feelings of fear, doubt, and uncertainty. By coming back to the present moment, we can remain grounded and centered for what lies ahead. Furthermore, this will also serve as a strong foundation to thrive in our future.
This time has given me a new perspective on life. I hear many people yearning for things to go back to the way they were. Why? Why do we want to live in the past? Because we were familiar with it? Isn’t that how many of us spend our lives trying to catch up to where we used to be, instead of celebrating the joy of where we are today? Who you were yesterday is only relevant in how it prepared you for who you want to be tomorrow. That is how we should approach every day. By committing to learning from your experiences and releasing what no longer serves you, you can find the beauty of presence.
Here are three ways to reclaim your awareness and bring it into the present moment. These simple steps will guide you to the bliss of at-will presence:
Let go of your past.
What happened in your life yesterday that really matters today? Something great? Something terrible? In either case, what does it matter to who you are right now in the present moment? I would contend that it doesn’t, and by letting go, you will free yourself from the attachments that are holding you back. Grab a pen and paper and write down three things you’re holding onto that no longer serve you. After you’ve written them, burn the piece of paper.
Use your mental energy for the future.
At first blush, this seems to fly in the face of being present. We all need time for reflection. Reflection informs the course we navigate through our lives, and life wants to be navigated. How much time do you spend visualizing what you want for your future? Try thirty minutes a day for starters. The more time you spend envisioning the future consistently, the more you attract that future to you.
Be your own universe.
We are all our own creation. The idea of who you are is solely yours. Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? How can you express your most authentic Self in its highest form? When Michelangelo was asked how he knew to carve his infamous statue of David so beautifully and with such skill, Michelangelo responded by saying David was always there, and that he simply chipped away everything that wasn’t David. What a beautiful way to describe the creation of the Self. Simply being yourself is the journey of living in the present moment.