The Challenge of Being Present

 “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have.”  Eckhart Tolle

Be present.   Logical.  Makes perfect sense, right?  So why is it so difficult to follow this advice in stressful situations?  In these moments, we revert to our familiar pattern of behavior despite knowing deep down that “now” is all we have.

This topic led to a rich discussion, with friends, about how we handle challenges in our lives.  We seem to fall into two broad categories.  The first group sits & thinks & thinks & thinks… until whatever they are thinking about has grown into something much worse than it really is.  Logic becomes the enemy, creating monsters in the closet.  The other group rushes full speed ahead, doing things to stay preoccupied so they don’t have to face the problem.  I confess, I’m a thinker who plays “what if” with both my past & my future, coming up with multiple scenarios so I have even more to worry about 🙂  I know it’s not helpful yet I do it anyway.  Many of us tend to do the one thing we know doesn’t work for us.

Here’s a possible solution… do the opposite.  When thinking leaves you more confused & anxious, get physical.  Garden, exercise, try a hobby, or play with your dogs.  When running to avoid your problems leaves you saying things like, “I’m so busy that I don’t have time to think”, get quiet & still.  Listen to your heart.

Do the opposite of what you normally do when you are stressed.  Reach for food?  Exercise.  Go shopping?  Clean out a closet, giving unwanted items to charity.  Call everyone you ever met for advice?  Look within yourself for answers by meditating or journal writing.  Get outside your comfort zone & see if the change does you good.

“If it’s not working, stop doing it.”  Unknown