Living In The Now

Here is a hard saying but one that I feel is worthy of full acceptance: Life is now.
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The memories that haunt you from your past are in essence, a series of “nows” that got away from you. The concerns that you have for the future are “nows” that are still out of reach and cannot truly be changed by worry. All that you really have is the “now” that is in front of you and the way that you engage it means everything. She: I wonder if I could reschedule that eye appointment next week because I don’t think we will have time considering the doctor appointment I have to make now for Susie’s check-up on her ankle sprain…. Wait…what did you say?

Let me say that again in case you aren’t paying enough attention; all that you have is this moment and the choice that you make in engaging it. Your life is made up of a series of moments, seconds really, and if you choose you can squander them just by worrying about the future or regretting the past.  She: I usually regret the future and worry about the past.

In order to have a full life, we need to make a conscious decision to get present and getting present is a skill that needs to be mastered by practice. Why is any of this important? This is important because most of us are trapped by our inability to practice an intentional immediacy. She: So, make sure your intentional immediacy is immediately intentional…got it?

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Specifically, here are some reasons where this activity can impact your life:

1. Sexually, you need this skill set because full enjoyment can only be had when you are totally present and singularly focused on the now. For you ladies, this is especially true. She: For you men, this is especially especially true…😝 If you can’t learn to shut down the buzzing in your head and be present and focused, your enjoyment and your spouse’s fulfillment will be a sliver of what it could be. She: True enough…I got some ideas on how ya’ll can help us shut it down!  Usually my buzzing shuts right down with a spa day….I mean, buzzing gone at that point…. completely….I’m free this Friday….I have the number right here, honey….

2. In your marriage you need this because your views of your spouse need to stop being based on manipulation. What I mean by that is that your predetermined assumptions of your spouse and their actions quickly become self-fulfilling prophecies unless you can shut it down and just start to be present.

3. In your life you need this because you need to start making intentional decisions that will produce the results that you want in life rather than just riding the roller coaster of reacting to life that happens to you.

4. In your inner being you need this because you have already wasted too many moments worrying about the future or replaying and regretting the past. You need peace and focus and this is how you can get it, starting when? Now. She: Like right now, right now??

Here are some things to practice in order for you to begin to live in the now:

1: Shut it all down.

The noise that surrounds you stops you from being immediate. Most of that noise stems from your diagnosis of the moment and the emotional response that comes as a result. For instance, if you have a body image problem then your focus on that stops you from enjoying the immediate intimacy that you should be experiencing. If you are worried that someone is about to walk in because you forgot to lock the door, that is going to distract you as well. She: HILARIOUS! But not funny because it’s called CHILDREN! And they would be scarred for life!  Hey, one time I had this crazy experience when I was a child where I walked in and…this is a complete bunny trail, never mind…. In love, relationships, or work we have to learn to shut down all of the noise and just be still.

How do you do that? First off, breathe in and out. She: I am pretty sure I was already doing that….. Focus your attention on that act alone. Everything else that comes into your head, your anxieties, worries, doubts, fears, just remove them. I have two ways that I use to do that, the first is feeding them to the fire. Sounds strange, yeah? I focus on my breathing and imagine a flame then I begin to feed those things into it as they present themselves to my consciousness. That’s not some guru thing; it is me taking control of my own mind. The second way that I use is to simply erase things. If I am standing before 5,000 people and am getting anxious, I begin to black out (like with a marker) sections of the crowd until my focus becomes narrowed.  She: Was the picturing them naked just a joke?  I’ve actually been doing that….

If there are pressing bills that could distract me from intimacy or focus on writing or whatever I am doing, I just focus on my breathing and either feed them to the fire or black them out until my focus is where I want it to be. It takes practice but its value is incredible. She: For me…kiss on my neck and all is forgotten!

2: Attune yourself to what is immediate.

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Have you ever stepped into the sun and the warmth of it just stopped you in your tracks? You stood there for a moment with your eyes closed and face tilted towards the sun and just savored it? She: Like Timothy Green? Or maybe you took a bite of a perfectly cooked piece of prime rib, closed your eyes and just enjoyed it thoroughly? That’s called savoring, Holmes, and it is good.

You need to begin practicing the art of savoring every chance you get, this is the stuff that makes us feel fully alive after all. Whatever you find yourself doing at the present moment- close your eyes and just experience it. It could be the sun, a tanning bed, a meal, a drink or your partner’s touch.

Savoring focuses your immediate intent on the now and that’s what it’s all about.

3: Breathe and take it at face value.

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If you are concerned about what you drug into the bedroom with you, you will never get present. If you are looking to your partner’s motivations or what they think of you or why they did this thing or that thing, you will never get present.

Part of getting immediate is about just taking things at face value, as they are. Don’t read into every detail of what is happening. If your partner wants you to dress up like Madonna from 1984, don’t start analyzing it and thinking that he had a girlfriend who dressed that way. She: Hey, I only asked! It was weird, okay? I thought maybe you had a girlfriend that did the Madonna thing better, okay?! 😝

Just take it at face value and roll with it. The energy that you spend analyzing is energy that could be used in enjoying or offering enjoyment and that is a bad trade-off, however you slice it.

Part of your power is released only when you focus your intent. This can only happen when you stop trying to figure out angles and just take things as they are and be.

4: Singular focus on what is in front of you.

Intent comes when we narrow our focus, clearing away all the clutter. When you can dispose of the noise, stop analyzing, stop focusing on externals and get immediate, the result is intent. Every powerful thing about you is focused when you gain intent, understand?

This is what separates successful people from reactionary people. It what separates great lovers from the mediocre. It is what makes great husbands, fathers, wives, mothers and friends. Make a determination to focus yourself on what you want in the now, you won’t regret it.

5: Quit changing the now.

In order to get present in the now, you need to stop trying to change it and just let it be. Over focus on a destination will cause you to lose intent quickly. If you are preoccupied with reaching climax, for instance, that will actually cause it to not materialize if you are a woman or happen too quickly if you are a man. Instead, just allow yourself to be where you are. This happens in life as well, doesn’t it? Sometimes we want our goal so badly that we lose precious moments that are happening all around us. If you set your feet in the direction that you want to go and don’t deviate, you’ll get there. The trick is not losing life while you are striving for a better one.

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She: The Japanese Cherry Blossom is a tree of magnificent beauty and yet the symbolism of it is arguably more beautiful.  The representation of the cherry blossom in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years and  illustrates the fragility and the beauty of life. It serves as a reminder that life is overwhelmingly beautiful but that it is also terribly short.

In closing, if you will start to practice and define these areas for yourself you are going to find them being easier and easier to call up when you need them. Life is about the quality of our moments, not merely our destination. Many people have lived and died regretting that they sacrificed the one for the other, don’t be one of them.

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