The theme of this blog has become living in the moment. We all want to be our happiest selves, enjoying the little things, reducing stress, freeing our minds of clutter.
I have talked in great lengths about the Film Peaceful Warrior, and have even adapted that title to describe myself and the never ending battle to live in the present.
As it turns out, this desire, while a wonderful and progressive idea, is immensely hard to accomplish.
But that is OK.
We are all facing these challenges. Nothing is wrong with me, and nothing is wrong with you.
Remember our friend Alain de Botton? He was featured in my four post series, Self. Well as it turns out he has another thought provoking video about living in the moment, check it out before we continue.
When you are struggling to live in the moment, especially when you are thinking mainly about the past, or “the good old days”, it is important to remember that the past in what Alain calls “the present enhanced by an editing machine”.
All of those amazing memories of yours were once diluted by stress, deadlines, anger, sadness, and boredom just like the great times right here and now are. Remember this, and use it to your advantage.
Edit the present, not just the past.
Focus on what makes you happy. Take time every single day, even if it is just 60 seconds, to list off all of the positive things in your life right this moment.
It could be something as small and meaningless as having the exact change for your coffee, or filling your car with gas and the price coming to a clean even number. It is silly, but when you start to let yourself focus on and enjoy even the tiniest of life’s pleasures, the good vibes come at you like a title wave.
Alain also talks about the endless possibilities of the present, and how “theoretically, anything could happen at any moment…and that leads to an in-directed anxiety that follows us around almost every moment.” But, Alain reminds us, almost nothing catastrophic every actually happens, so we shift the anxiety to the new present, and don’t remember it when we look back at the past.
As we have discussed, We will always be anxious. But if you remember, that is not always a bad thing. As an excerpt from our now Vaulted post on Anxiety says,
“Accept that you are always going to be anxious. As de Button puts it “there is no reason for us to on top of everything be anxious that we are anxious.” Acceptance is a huge step.
Anxiousness should not leave you crippled, it should remind you that you are alive. So pursue the beautiful far away island, the perfect home, the perfect lover, for reasons other than finding calm. Otherwise you will be left disappointed.
Happiness is in the journey, not the destination. Getting to some future place is not where happiness will be found. It will be found by taking a deep breathe, accepting and embracing life, and living in the moment.”
We must learn to live with our anxieties in order to win the battle of living in the moment. And if we tackle our anxieties, maybe we can start to not only edit the past, but edit the present as well.