Remember when you were a kid and on a car trip that seemed to take forever, and you just couldn’t wait to be there? Remember that feeling of frustration and impatience?
Are we there yet? was the question of the moment. The now, in that car, mile after boring mile peeling away under those trusty four wheels, was just a means to get from where you were, to that exciting future arrival moment.
Am I done yet?
I think of my days where I have a long TO DO list and so many things that HAVE TO be done. Some of them do have to be done – they are essential components of the work I do, or the life I live. They have a planet earth time/space attribute: a dentist appointment, an important meeting, taxes to pay.
Other things can be a little more flexible – washing my car, paying bills, replying to email – yet still they are tasks to do and get done in a timely fashion.
But so often I feel like that kid again – am I there yet? What else do I still have TO DO before I get THERE?
And once I am THERE yet another trip looms for me to take to get from here to there. And so my life is lived as a means to an end, instead of an end itself.
If I am not careful, I find I have so much to do every day that my life just slips away and I end up wondering where the time has gone; where my life has gone.
Two Mindsets – Two Results
Eckhart Tolle talks often about using the present moment as a means to an end, instead of living in it as an end in itself.
Next time you face your daily TO DO list, think about this. Each task can be accomplished from one of two mindsets. Either you are focused on getting this one done so you can get to the next one, and the next one and the next one.
OR you are focused on doing each task for the sake of the task and nothing else. You are AWARE of what you are doing and not thinking ahead to getting this done and moving to the next thing to do.
In that state of awareness, you might become aware of your surroundings, of a pen as you pick it up, of the actual process of paying a bill and the appreciation of the service you have received in return. You might be aware of the intricacies of a particular process in your work.
This morning I thought how amazing it is to create a little piece of HTML coding and see it appear as a desired result on a web page that doesn’t look a bit like the coding. Or I might notice the soap bubbles as I do the dishes, the sound of the water running, the joy of hot water on tap, the thought that I could use some of this lovely soapy water to pour on some plants to keep the aphids away.
Then you move on to the next thing and stay present inside the actions of that task.
The Moment Comes Alive
And something magical happens. Time slows down. Because you are aware of what you are engaged in, you also become aware of your feelings about it and a sense of fulfillment. Maybe new thoughts arise in answer to questions you might have – and from a state of flow you are able to discern the most effective next steps.
This is how you give 100% to your life, to your life moments, to your commitments, aspirations and dreams. Moment by beautiful moment. If all we have is the present moment, then it’s a great idea of be in it and not be pushing it by in a big rush to get more done. This is also a way to increase your sense of gratitude for life and all it has to offer, and all you have to offer by just being present in this moment.
What happened in the past loses its importance and what might happen in the future loses its fear of the unknown. A greater sense of trust develops, trust that no matter what happens, all will be well at some deeper level. Most of all, the joy and passion that lives in the present moment is freed from all those obstacles of looking to future for when you will be ‘done’, and can now flow in ecstasy through your whole being.
Yes – You Do Have Time – That is All You Have!
Mind will rebel when the focus is changed from the future to the now. It will say I don’t have time for this – there’s too much to do – I’ll think about this when I’m not so rushed/pressured. And yet, that is all we do have – time – and it is the only time we have, despite those angry assertions of mind.
I have learned to use timers very effectively. I have an app on my phone that allows for say a 30 minute block of time for a writing project, or a 45 minute block of time to check email. Timers are great because there is a beginning and end and you learn to focus on only the task at hand and avoid distractions. Breaking big tasks up into smaller blocks of time is also very helpful.
Some apps have the ability to set a reminder that will repeat itself during the day. This is great for an affirmation reminder that you are the Essence of Life Itself, not the mind wanting to get things done. A good one is Breathe. I AM. I AM AWAKE. What am I experiencing in this moment? Just pausing to ask myself this question takes me out of my mind and into the now. I like the app ‘Alarmed’ for all its different features.
Another idea is to create a reminder with 3 keywords that describe who you want to be going into a particular situation. Calm, decisive, effective going into a meeting, Loving, giving, relaxed going home to your family, Invaluable, Effective, Radiating every 2 hours during your work day.
The Trip is the Magic – Not the Destination
Make time to observe closely what else is coming up in the present moment that diverts and distracts. Then come back to now. You will enjoy the trip so much more, and just maybe discover, that it is the trip itself that brings the magic, not the end destination.
The Moments of my Minutes create the Days of my Life.