The Beauty of Living in the Present Moment

LunaMothMost of us live either fretting about the past or worrying about the future. We continually rehash in our mind the event that occurred, especially those events that had a negative impact on us. Or worse yet we talk about it with every person we speak to. Reliving every moment as though it just happened.

For many of us it has become such a habit that we don’t even notice that we are doing it and worse yet we miss things that are happening all around us in the moment. The habit of looking at the past is ingrained into every aspect of our life. The news that we receive is already something in the past, in fact every single moment becomes the past before we even realize it. But, here’s the thing, if we really think about it there is absolutely nothing we can do to change those things that happened in the past, the only thing we can do is learn from the past, heal our hurts from the past and move on.

That seems simple enough, right? Yet few of us actually take time to consider the lessons from the past because we are so busy blaming others or beating ourselves up for the mistakes we’ve made. It becomes a vicious cycle that unless we consciously choose to break it, it can totally consume our lives and we end up missing all of the good that is happening each and every moment of the day.

Then there is the part about planning for the future, that can also be all consuming and in the end can also be quite frustrating, because all of the planning doesn’t necessarily bring us to where we really want to be and worse yet, while we are busy planning and focusing on the future we are again, missing out on the beauty of the present moment.

Many years ago, I was given a copy of an audio book called The Present and listening to it helped me to recognize the various ways that I The Presentwas missing out on life, because of my focus being on everything but the present moment, which by the way is truly all we have. So, I started paying attention to how often I was thinking about the past or the future and made a commitment to be present with every moment of every day. That’s not to say that you can ever stop thinking about the past or planning for the future, but you can put your attention on the present moment more frequently and I’ve found that my life has become far more enjoyable and far less stressful.

Being present, I have found that I notice butterflies more and I notice the wonderful smell of Jasmine when I’m taking a walk, or I hear the sound of a beautiful song bird singing in the tree, that previously I never even noticed. I also find that when I am present with others that conversations can go much deeper and become far more intimate. I’ve also noticed that when I am doing 3 other things while listening to something a friend is talking about, that rarely do I truly catch the full impact of what the person is sharing and most of the time, I miss the point totally.

Last summer I spent some time on the ocean beaches in Florida, with a friend who is totally in tune with nature and I was amazed at the things he noticed that I totally missed. It was so cool to see little tiny shells on the shore turn themselves on end and burrow down into the wet sand, they were’t just shells on the shores they were little tiny clams. I thought about the many times I had noticed the tiny shells on the sand and even noticed that they seemed to sink into the wet sand but I never paid enough attention to truly notice what was happening. If my friend hadn’t shown me and I hadn’t stayed present to see what he was sharing with me, I might never have had the experience of watching those tiny clams burrowing their way into the sand.

Being present more with nature, I’ve seen several turtles near the water bury their eggs, I saw crabs that are almost invisible as they blend in with the sand as they hurry to their tiny hole to hide. I even got to see a tiny baby sea turtle, right after it hatched, as it rushed for the water to begin it’s journey as a sea turtle. I watched as the water pushed it back and how it didn’t give up, but instead pushed forward, dove deeper and eventually found it’s way out into the ocean.

Being present with another person in conversation can be just as rewarding as being present in nature. Life can be full of distractions if we allow it to be, or we can make the choice to live in the present moment, stay more aware of our surroundings and enjoy every moment, and find more joy in our lives when we do.

There is lots to discover when you are totally present in this beautiful world we live in, if only we take the time to be present.

The picture at the top of this post is a Luna Moth. As a child I saw many pictures of the Luna moth and always wanted to see one alive. The picture above was taken recently by a friend of mine who was being present in nature and showed it to me. The gift of being present and aware took over 60 years before I got to see a Luna Moth, and yet there it was. Two days later while working in my office in the evening the moth showed up outside the window while trying to get to the light inside and I stopped and watched it for several minutes that evening. I’ll never forgot how beautiful it was flying near the window.

Here’s my challenge to you is to give yourself a Present by taking the time to be present in your day. Make a concerted effort for at least 15 minutes per day to be totally present in the moment, and look for the joy that doing so gives you. I’m betting that if you make this a practice you will soon find yourself living in the present moment far more often and finding much more joy in your life. Please share some of the joys you find in life when living in the present moment in the comment box below. Maybe your story will inspire someone else to live more fully in the present moment too.


2 comments to The Beauty of Living in the Present Moment

  • Laurie,

    Wow thanks for sharing. You have mastered the ability to enjoy the beauty of living in the present moment and gratitude. What an inspiriting story for all to read. Thanks you and Blessing to you!

  • Laurie Hostetler

    I am 87 years old and have recently moved to Vermont to live with my daughter and her family after closing my home of 50 years and my business of 38 years, both of which I loved. I knew I would be happy wherever I went, because I like to be happy, but the beauty of Vermont and the wonderful people made it much easier than I believed possible. We had a severe storm last Monday and we lost all power, no electricity, no heat, no water, for five days. We have a winding, hilly, dirt road that limbs high for 2 miles from a paved road. It is a beautiful, scenic trip in nice weather, but not so good in deep snow and ice. My daughter had bottled water stored, which we used sparingly. She knows to keep a stock of candles, and I was amazed how they calmed that most frigid air. They reflected in all the windows and were quite beautiful. We kept replacing bowls of snow in the refrigerator, and ate what we could. We had warm clothing. I had 2 thermal jackets and wore both of them with a hood, with tights under my slacks. (I was amused and shocked when I faced the fact that I had worn the same clothes for five days and nights, but it was far too cold to undress and then put on cold clothes. I wasn’t dirty, nor were my clothes, so I didn’t mind, but I didn’t tell anyone, either). The beauty through every window was extraordinary, I basked in that beauty. Each day we hoped the power might be restored, but no one griped. No one complained. We have a vast appreciation now for warm rooms, well lit rooms, cooked food, showers, fresh clothing, and communication with the outside world through phones and computers, and we really enjoy flushing the stools. It’s a good life,
    and it all depends on your attitude.

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