I recently finished listening to the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.  I had read his first book, A New Earth because Oprah recommended it.  I wasn’t a fan. When someone I follow mentioned The Power of Now, I wasn’t sure I wanted to invest. But curiosity won out. In a world that constantly pulls us in a thousand different directions, I found myself spending too much time in the recent past. I call myself a looper, I will play the same scene over and over trying to make better sense of the choices I’ve made, but getting nowhere.  The concept of living in the moment, or “being in the now,” seemed elusive and almost impossible. With the hustle and bustle of daily life, it was easy to get caught up in the past or worry about the future. But over time, I realized that the true essence of life lies in experiencing the present. Something my mentors have been telling me for years.

Why Living in the Now Matters

If you stop to think about it, your life is perfect when you are in the now.  Stop for a moment and just be present with yourself.  Is anyone threatening you, right now?  Do you feel safe, right now? If you were hungry, could you go eat right now?  For most of us the answers would be, “no”, “yes”, and “yes”. My first practice of being in the now began in the car.  When I’m driving, I have a tendency to let my mind wander to the past or future events.  When I note the mind wandering, I tell myself, “Right now my life is perfect”.  This is actually a true statement.  By doing this on a regular basis I started to notice a pattern. The more I focused on the present, the more at peace I felt. It was as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

Other Benifits of Being Present

My relationships also began to improve. By letting go of past annoyances, I am able to foster deeper connections and better communication. It was amazing to see how being present makes dealing with my mom’s forgetfulness less bothersome.

I also found that my focus and productivity skyrocketed. Concentrating on one task at a time allowed me to perform more efficiently and effectively. Living in the now helped eliminate distractions and boosted my productivity in ways I never thought possible.

Most importantly, I discovered a newfound sense of happiness. Happiness, I realized, is found in appreciating the little things in life. By being mindful of my surroundings and experiences, I cultivated a greater sense of gratitude and joy.

How I Embraced the Present Moment

There are many ways to embrace the present moment. Some people start with simple mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation. I enjoy taking a few moments each day to observe my surroundings without judgment helped ground me in the now. I love taking a moment to watch a bird, look at the clouds or admire the moon.

Constant notifications and screen time can be major distractions. I have all of my notifications on mute so I get to decide when I want to answer.  I do keep my watch on vibrate in case it’s someone I’m waiting to hear from, but most of the time I pretty unplugged. I don’t look at my phone in the morning until after my reading, and I leave it home when I’m out for a walk.  One of the easiest ways I found to ground myself in the present was through sensory experiences. Paying attention to the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures around me has become a daily practice. This could be as simple as savoring a meal or enjoying the feel of the sun on my skin.

While reflecting on the past and planning for the future is natural, I learned not to let these thoughts dominate my mind. Acknowledging them and gently bringing my focus back to the present made a significant difference. Taking time each day to reflect on the things I was grateful for shifted my focus from what I lacked to what I had. This practice fostered a positive mindset and a deeper appreciation for the present.  When I do thing about the past it is self-reflective about what I could do better next time.  When I think about the future, I visualize what I want the outcome to be versus worrying about what might go wrong.

The Journey to Now

Living in the now isn’t about ignoring the past or neglecting future responsibilities; it’s about finding balance. It’s about recognizing that the only moment we truly have is the present one. By embracing the now, I found that I could lead a more fulfilling, joyful, and meaningful life.

So, take a deep breath. Feel the ground beneath your feet. Listen to the sounds around you. This moment is yours—embrace it.