If you’re like me, you’ll do something meant to give you pleasure. My pleasure comes from things like walking in nature (hello my Florida mangroves!) or reading spiritual guidance books. And if you’re like me, then you’ll feel a pang of guilt for doing that pleasurable thing… while you’re doing it!
As an example, you decide to eat a cookie because it looks oh so delicious and you want that sweet sensation of sugar and chocolate. With every chew, instead of savoring the flavors and allowing yourself that minute of pure joy, you give yourself a hard time: “I can’t believe I’m eating this many calories. I need to get back to the gym. I’m so fat.”
A few weeks ago, I caught myself doing this more and more. I was never in the moment and focusing on the present. I’d go for a walk and badger myself for not working longer on the computer. I’d eat a dessert and pester myself for not walking more that day. I’d meditate and bully myself for not spending that time cleaning the house.
If this sounds exhausting and counterproductive, you’re absolutely right. It was and is.
On one extremely self-critical day, I grew so aggravated that I snapped out loud.
“No more. You’re either in or out.”
Those words came out so passionately and quickly, I startled myself. I was grateful for this because I knew without a doubt I needed to listen to this advice.
And so I did. To get myself back to living in the moment, any time that pesky voice would tell me I should or shouldn’t be doing something, I’d ask myself, “Are you in or out?” If I was in, I’d quiet my judge-y thoughts and enjoy what I was doing. If I was too frazzled to truly be present, I’d stop what I was doing altogether.
Thanks to my recalibration, I’ve returned to fully appreciating something while I’m doing it. This has given me a sense of grounding, fulfillment and self-love.
I have many success stories to share. The other day, I had two helpings of pumpkin pie, thinking only about how much I adore the fall and how I love the taste of cinnamon. I’ve rewatched several Sex and the City episodes, my mind focused solely on Carrie’s cute wardrobe and Big’s warm smile. It’s been pure bliss. Chores, who?
So, for the next thing you do, are you in or out?
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PS – Here’s an affirmation to help you live in the moment, “I am here right now. All that exists is now.”
PPS – Do you want to strengthen your ability to live in the moment? If so, grab your pen and journal. Find somewhere outside to sit, or perhaps sit next to a window. Set your timer. For 5 minutes, stretch yourself to think about and write about nothing else but besides what’s literally in front of you (a squirrel eating a nut, an old wooden bench). If your mind wanders, gently ask it to come back, and keep on writing. The more you perform this activity, the stronger you’ll be at living in the moment. If this becomes too easy, increase your time.