Monday, April 2, 2012


As part of my spiritual practice I try (I mean really try) to stay in the moment.
When I was younger I would hear people say to be here now and I had no clue what it meant.
Over the years I figured it out and then just sort of let it slide, not thinking about it very much, but knowing that I was not very successful at it. When I happened to be in the moment I was thrilled and vowed that I would try harder.
The last few months I have made it part of my life and never realized how out of the moment I truly was until lately.
I discovered something shocking about myself.
I tend to not be too much in the past, I am more a future girl. I don't mean way into the future, I mean just a few minutes or an hour or two. What I discovered by watching my thoughts is that while I am hiking I will sometimes be thinking about what I will do after the hike. While I am doing most activities I will be thinking about the next activity. Which means that I am not really living my life. Mostly I think this is just a bad habit and one that I can change.
I also noticed that when I am painting, reading, or watching a movie I don't do this jumping into the future thing, I can stay present and engaged in what I am doing. Same for if I am having dinner with a friend or hugging my dog. Which is why I think I like these activities best. I am really alive when doing those things. Makes a lot of sense.
So these days I am breaking this very bad habit and living more, thinking less.
I thought that perhaps this little insight could help some of you as well.


Judy Shreve said...

YAY - Ram Dass "Be Here Now" - such a life changing book for me in the seventies. I still have that worn book somewhere.

I think we are all guilty of thinking about what comes next - Is it because we are taught as children to plan ahead? Who knows - but good for you for recognizing it and trying to be more present. We should all do that!

I read a quote the other day - if we all lived in the moment we would all experience eternal life . . .

Annie said...

Judy, yes, the dear Ram Dass has been a teacher for many years.
There is no question of shoulds here, just a fact that when we are not present we are not really alive. A very scary thought, who wants to miss their life?
Lovely quote.
Judy, I am so glad we found each other :-).

Lori ann said...

it sounds like you have a wonderful balance annie. being present for all the things you love, as well as sometimes letting your mind wander, when your on a hike, seems good to me. you might dream up the next great painting!

it's one of the reasons i love photography so much. its seeing, feeling, breathing the moment.

sukipoet said...

but you do feel alive when you are hiking right? I just think it is human to let the mind wander whether to past or future. The point though is to, when you or I become aware of the wandering, to return to the present. Like, start looking at the path or the trees or listen to the birds ect on the walk.

life is so much more soothing when I can stay in the present.

Annie said...

Lori and Suki,
The way I know it to be is that if you are thinking about the past or future you are not really living.
You are like a ghost out there hiking, what is happening in your thinking is not real, only this moment right now. It is normal to jump around in your head, but I don't want to do it anymore. I want to be fully alive. And yes, when I realize what I am doing I come back into the moment and look around me. It is one thing to be solving a problem with my mind (that is what the mind is really for) and another thing to be telling myelf about a future that is not here and may never be here.
I aim to be awake and alive, to do that you have to live in the present :-). xoxo

Unknown said...

I can relate so much to this post. I am also working on being in the moment. One thing I love about dogs - they know how to be in the moment!!!

I am enjoying your new work, Annie!

Annie said...

Karine, Amen and thank you :-).xoxo

becky said...

"Live more, think less." that could be a bumper sticker!
Yes, in general, living in the moment can tough... particularly in our modern society... so many things to think/worry about. Or so we think. Those activities that fully engage us are the best remedy for sure. I did that while I was out hiking... my mind was a wandering.... but every now & again a p-pfuft of snow would fall from the trees and bring me right back to that moment.
And it was a lovely reminder.
Hope you are having a wonderful week!
PS... have you read any Thich Nhat Hanh? I do believe you would love him... he's all about the present moment.

Annie said...

Hi Becky, I have read him and love him. Sounds like you had a good hike :-). Have a great week!

Secret Agent Woman said...

Good for you. It's something I really try to do, but so often find myself drifting either forward or backward.

~Babs said...

So wise your words here Annie. I often find myself living in the future.
Of course it's necessary sometimes, as life can be so busy.
But to be reminded to TRY is a good thing,so thanks Annie!

Jos said...

I like this post Annie. I think too much ... and I worry too. All that worry, what does it achieve? Absolutely nothing. One thing I know is that worry stunts creative thinking and problem solving. I believe that being present in the moment is the perfect antedote to worrying.

Happy Easter Weekend Annie!!! Hope you have some wonderful walks, some time with your furry friends ... and of course with your paints! Love you xx Jos

angela recada said...

Dear Annie, I will re-read this post often, because I need to be reminded of this *very* often. But I am getting better at being in the present. Slowly, but surely. :0)

Thank you for being *YOU* dear one.

Happy weekend and Happy Easter!
Love and hugs,

kj said...

wise wise wise annie.


what time is it?

where are we?

all these mantras from years past, all leading to everything you have said in this very wise post.

when i am deep into something i love, my mind stills. and thank god when it's still, it doesn't wander

love love, annie ♥