Our theme for this month is how to live and lead in the now (also published in Conscious Shift Magazine), while creating the future you desire. It’s really very simple; when we learn to be present in the now, to every sensation in this moment, we enjoy our own aliveness. We extract the abundant juice there is for us right now without having to change it.
By living in the now, we are not identified with striving for more, better, or different. By taking care of how we are being in each moment, we ensure we are working within that which we can control. When we consciously regulate thoughts and emotions, we are in harmony with our own life force energy.
The opposite is also true. If we are reacting, we are not fully present in the now. Instead, we are bringing our past experiences into the present and re-living them, usually to our own detriment and that of others. This creates anxiety, fear, worry, dread; unnecessary conflict within us and outside of us.
Plan and Be in the Now
Please don’t confuse the need for us to live and lead in the now with a lack of interest in the future or planning. This doesn’t mean that we don’t create goals and plans. Leaders must do both.
I had a client who struggled with this recently. She wanted to thoughtfully plan for the future of her company, while taking action today. She noticed that sometimes when planning her thoughts often wandered to “what if” scenarios. When this happened, it didn’t take long for fear, worry and dread about the future to creep in. She realized not only was she not able to “do,” she also wasn’t able to “be.” She had been high-jacked into an emotional state that would not serve her as an expansive, visionary, confident leader. “Being” in the now was critical for her to marshal the resources necessary for her company’s success; it wasn’t optional.
The question is what do you do when things don’t go as “planned.” Ask yourself:
- What are my emotional habits around new projects or plans?
- Am I able to stay focused on “why” I am committed to the project in the first place, the difference it will make?
- Am I forgiving and compassionate with myself when I “react” and am not living in the now?
Thoughts become things.
Choose your thoughts wisely. It is estimated that more than 90% of our thoughts are repetitive. The problem is that we identify with those repetitive thoughts as if they are who we are. We identify with the mind, rather than use it as a tool with which to plan, organize and create. This is the root of our distress.
Energy follows attention.
Placing our attention and energy on the past or trying to control the future is not only futile; (although that doesn’t stop many of us from trying), it creates stress and dis-ease. Do you ruminate about the past or worry about the future? If so, you are leaking your precious life force energy away from what you can control; your experience of the now….
Consider these questions:
- When you are reacting, where do you place your attention?
- What are your patterns around your thoughts?
- Which ones about which people and situations do you repeatedly reinforce?
- Is it helpful or destructive?
- If you are spending your thoughts and energy on the future, what happens to the present?
There will never be another moment quite like this. Why expect it? Why not savor this one, and the next, and the next? How would your experience be different if you could allow yourself to be present to the spaciousness inside you already, rather than seeking it in the future, or from someone else?
The most effective way to get into the now is through your breath. Remember to breathe in through your belly and not from the top of your lungs. Be slow and deliberate on the inhale and the exhale. Thoughts will begin to fade away and you will gain access to your own presence.
In coaching leaders, I observe that they all benefit making this powerful shift.