Usually, when I wake up in the morning, I lie there for a bit feeling grateful for another day, a peaceful night of rest, and a healthy body to go out and serve!  I am an early riser, and when I get up, I have an inordinate amount of energy. My husband jokes and asks if I put an addition on the house while he slept for another hour!! LOL.

This morning was no different, but for some reason, thoughts of my past crept into my consciousness. Where do they come from?!?! At this point, I have a choice, and I realize I do. I could lie there and entertain the thoughts, sending me off into regrets, and otherwise negative feelings. Awareness is key here, and I am sure most people can relate to what I’m saying. If I set up a chair for these thoughts, my day would be ruined before the sun even rises.

Within the awareness, the question came to me: “Is this how you want to begin your day today?” I immediately determined to set my intention for the day, rather than let my thoughts rule me. If you don’t like the thoughts you’re thinking, then find another “better feeling” thought. What is my intention for today? To remain positive, helpful, and do what I can within my reach to make this world a better place for all of us to live in…

Now I can begin my day. The usual. Subconsciously we go through our routines of getting ready for the day. All the while, we’re thinking about one thing or another, aren’t we? Something someone said yesterday that hurt me, how I reacted, what I should have said but only thought of it now (rats!!) Oh, and I need to buy that stain to finish the shed, and Sunday is Mother’s Day – should we have the kids over… will it rain? “Siri, What’s the weather look like on Sunday?”  “Cloudy, 57” (rats, again!!!) And all this time, I’m fixing myself, making coffee, gathering my work stuff… Not present, just simply going through the motions while my mind is running 100 miles per minute.

Staying present is difficult, to say the least. It requires work, and close attention to detail. We’re so used to the patterning in our brain because of the habits we’ve created over time. Staying present means breaking some of these patterns, creating new habits, and really spending time in quiet thought, meditation, and listening. Meditation alone calls for being present, so this is where I’d start on practicing presence, even if it is just 5-10 minutes at a time.

One of the benefits to being present is this – you’re not missing the beauty and joy of each present moment. Being present helps you recognize when you are feeling fear or resistance, or if you are procrastinating. Being present then helps you work within the difficulties more mindfully.

Here are three techniques to help you stay present everyday:

1.        Form small regular practices. Start your day with just a simple habit of meditating for just two minutes a day (example: upon waking, lie or sit comfortably and try to focus on your breath. Set a timer for two minutes If your mind begins to wander, simply notice it and label it “thinking”, then gently return to your breath. When the timer goes off, you’re done. That simple). Then, increase the time, either every day by a minute or every week, maybe by five minutes. You don’t have to extend the time if you don’t want to. The idea here is to learn skills you can take and practice in other parts of your day. To add on to this, there are many wonderful apps out there that have pre-recorded mediations, ranging anywhere from 2 minutes to 60 minutes. It’s very easy to catch on to, and use as a guide when you are a new beginner (I’d recommend: Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer, etc…).

2.       If you like to collaborate with others, maybe it would be helpful to meditate with another person, or a group. You support each other, continuing to practice. You can then discuss the struggles and the things you are learning. Doing this helps us realize that there are SO many others who are enduring the same struggles and trying their best to better themselves too. It creates an environment of collaboration and “togetherness” that gives us a much needed boost of motivation to continue forward on our mediation journey.

3.       See everything as a teacher. Love what arises. Embrace the confusion you may be feeling. This may sound a bit weird, but it’s actually amazing. When you’re feeling frustrated, upset, anxious or stressed out…pause and view this person/place/thing as a teacher. What can you learn from them about being present? What attachments can you see in yourself that are causing difficulties? Or, what stories are you forming that cause you to feel this way.  Hmm…Everything that arises in any present moment can be a loving teacher if we choose to see it this way.                                                                                                                              

So, you can see how important staying present is. You are the creator of your life. Only you.  Staying present helps you set your goals, attain and maintain your goals. Whatever you give your undivided attention to becomes your reality and will manifest before your very eyes. Honestly, all we really have is THIS PRESENT MOMENT. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow hasn’t arrived. Right now. Here. Let’s begin!

Peace and Love to all.