Living in the present. It’s one of those statements that’s SO much easier said than done.

But it’s also something that I’m much better at doing now than I ever have been.

Think about it – you’re out with your friends, enjoying one of your favorite activities, and then an unpleasant thought enters your mind. Maybe it’s about something that someone did to you earlier that’s troubling you, or something you “have” to do later. Regardless of what “it” is, it rips you from the present and throws you into the elusive past or future. And it sucks because it robs you of the present!

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At Garden of the Gods with some friends this weekend, livin’ it up in the now!

Now, clearly I am in no way a psychologist, but I am introspective. What I’ve realized is the best way to live in the present is to have a clear mind. When I stop trying to control life, or time, or other people, I’m so much happier.

One thing I always remind myself is that if I can’t change it easily and stress-free, then it shouldn’t be crowding up my mind. I’m not so bad about living in the past – what’s done is done, and I can’t do much about it. But I have a tendency to think about the future a lot – my schedule, deadlines, evening clients, etc. I get caught up in saying I “shouldn’t” have to do something or or “I wish” I wouldn’t have waited to get everything done, when those words just make the situation worse.

One of my favorite quotes by Byron Katie explains it a little better:

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Because it’s so true!

I’m writing this on Sunday morning, and in a few hours I have to drive all the way to Denver on one of my only days off to work 8 hours at an outdoor music festival for KIND. I have to navigate traffic, have to find a place to park, and then I have to work outside amongst a crowded venue when I’d rather be at home or hiking on this lovely day.

That’s one way to look at it. That way also robs me of the 3 hours I have until I leave for work. Notice how many times the word “have” is in that statement. In reality, I don’t “have” to do anything. Here’s the way I prefer to look at it.

“Right now, I’m sitting at the table writing this blog post.”

And that’s it.

And in 3 hours, I’ll be driving to Denver. And that’s it.

Does that make sense? Sometimes I’ll mentally tell myself what I’m doing – even the most minute task! For example, if I’m taking Niko for a walk, I mentally tell myself, “I’m enjoying this walk with Niko.” It helps me to do just that – not think about what’s a head, or check my email or instagram on my phone. I’m just enjoying the walk. I’m just enjoying the present moment.

Do you struggle with living in the present? What are some tactics you use to stay out of the past and future?

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