Practice #2 — Be In The Present, Pay Attention
“When working with people, I am often asked what it takes to have a strong sense of personal power as they go through life. I have noticed these days that even though many have done some amount of personal development work, when it comes right down to it, there is at least one of eight practices that is being dropping out of their daily life. It is this thing or things that cause feelings of lack of personal power, lowered self-confidence, depleted energy – all of which lead to unhappiness and feeling unfulfilled.
To aid you in seeing what elements are crucial in creating and maintaining a deeply fulfilling life, I created The 8 Practices of Authentic Power: Creating a Foundation for Personal Mastery.
Here is what has already been explored:
- Practice #1 Heal Your Fear, Surrender to Love
And now for Practice #2 — Be In The Present, Pay Attention
Q. So in the practices of personal power, why are being present and paying attention crucial elements?
A. When one’s awareness is not in the present, one cannot pay attention to what is going on within and around them. And if one is not paying attention, one cannot receive the sometimes-subtle messages and insights they might otherwise receive, nor can they often receive the guidance or see the opportunities that are right before their eyes.
Referring to my good friend, Webster –
Present (as an adjective) 1: now existing or in progress. 2: being in view or at hand. 3: attentive.
4 archaic: instant, immediate. Synonyms: current, existent, instant
Attention 1: a condition of readiness involving especially a selective narrowing or focusing of consciousness and receptivity. 2: observation, notice; especially: consideration with a view to action something requiring prompt attention. 3. a focusing of the mind on something gave the issue careful attention
What I find beautiful about these definitions is that they point to living in a state of beingness while also being in a state of readiness or alertness.
It is also interesting to note that the definition of present as a noun is: something presented, a gift, benevolence, boon, compliment, favor, generosity. Being present in the moment is where the gifts occur.
Something I often say to my clients is, “Grace is always standing in the wings, waiting for an invitation to rush forward on your behalf.” In my work with people, I often notice them rushing from thing to thing while at the same time focusing (or worrying) about the future, and sometimes also living in some degree in the past, with its pain and regrets, or in the memory of pleasure and comparing it to the present. When I ask my clients how they keep track of what is happening currently if they are also living in another time, they say they can’t.
Your future is created by the quality of the moment you are cultivating in the present.
I am all for taking time and energy to focus attention on co-creating our futures, but not at the expense of being present in the moment. That’s right, not being present becomes expensive. The gifts, clues, opportunities for growth and expansion, guidance, grace, pleasure, and joy we yearn for exist ONLY in the present. If we aren’t firmly connected in the here and now, we are likely to miss them.
Your personal power involves bringing the qualities of the future you desire into this moment.
What do I mean by the above statement? Anyone who has had a hard time in life knows that the way out was not by focusing on the future (although it is important to be clear on what you want), nor is it by focusing on the past (although it is important to heal your past pain), it is by living the life you want to live…to the best of your abilities…now.
You want to create a larger and more fulfilling life? First, get yourself clear on what it would feel like to have such a life. Then, start doing the things you would do (perhaps in smaller ways) if you had such a life. Feel what you’re feeling while doing the things. Do you feel good? Do you feel scared? Do you feel fulfilled? Do you feel this isn’t quite the feeling you were looking for? All these experiences occur in the now moment and are the indicators as to whether you are on the right track or not. If we are paying attention, we are able to assess whether what we are doing (and feeling) is in alignment with our desire. If it is not, we can make adjusts.
Can you see the gems available to you in your primary relationship if you are always worried about the future of the relationship, or if he/she is “the one”, or, if you are focused on the pain he/she or others have caused you in the past? Not likely. Look to see if the experience you are currently having matches the experience you ultimately want to have. If you are not feeling fulfillment, then the next step is to do your best to make adjustments in the relationship to get the experience you want. For example, if one of the things I want in my ideal romantic relationship is great communication and I am not currently experiencing it, then first, I should know how to communicate effectively, or learn how to do it. Then, I would want to choose a partner who either knows how to communicate effectively as well or is willing to learn and practice it. Then as you progress, check in with your experience to decipher if you are on the right track. To do this you must be present and pay attention to what you are experiencing right now. I have worked with people who are convinced that their partner is not capable of something they want or need, only to find out that problem was not with the partner per se, but with the person’s residual pain from past experiences and their fear of being hurt again in the future that keeps them from seeing the current reality of what the partner is capable and willing to do.
It is in the present that we heal our pasts.
How can someone grow their business if they are still reliving past failures? There is value in seeing where our scars come from, but be very clear that the healing of scars occurs in the now. Many times I have healed scars by doing the antithesis of the thing. It has looked like this, once I have told the full truth about my past failure and taken responsibility for my part in it, I take the lessons I learned from the experience and move forward. As I move forward, I may encounter temporary feelings of fear (remorse, guilt, anger, etc.), but I am confident because I know I have done my work. Eventually I receive an insight or an Aha moment and I see the past and the present connect, and the pain revealed and healed. A domino effect occurs where I can see everything between my past and the present moment collapse. It is as if the energetic string that connected the subsequent experiences of the original wound is pulled out, and everything is released from its hold.
Have you ever hear the saying, “Take your fear with you”? You don’t have to be healed of fear before you do the thing you are afraid of. The thing you need is trust in yourself that you have learned what you needed in order to move forward successfully.
Now for the other side of the coin…or the bad news for some. When one is present, one also subjects himself or herself to their past pain. Herein lies the opportunity for healing and growth. Those who have persistent emotional pain are usually doing anything and everything they can to avoid feeling their feelings in the present moment. They will use TV, food, shopping, sex, drugs/alcohol, doing too much, etc. to avoid feeling what is going on right now. The thing is, that right now contains all the clues to free oneself of their agony, and avoiding the feelings only perpetuates them! Here is another saying for you, “What we resists persists.”
I leave you with this,
The biggest gift we can give to ourselves is our presence in the present.
Donna M Thomas
Intuitive Life Coach, Healing Conduit, Mastery Group Leader, Author
This blog, and all my writings, are explorations into the wondrous, deep, and ever-evolving process of living, loving and growing. My intention with Pebbles for Thought, is to empower and uplift, one post at a time.