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Personal Essay: Living in the Moment

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November 2009
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This morning, in the Globe & Mail newspaper, I read a personal essay, “My Life with ALS”, by a 42 year old woman who has recently been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease.) after a successful career, marriage, and life that most us aspire to have. Her essay prompted me to write my own personal essay—- “Living in the Moment.”

Are you living your life moment by moment? Or are you immersed in the past or worrying about the future?

Life is not only a series of experiences, or milestones, or events, or happenings or accomplishments, it is also a series of moments. Frequently, We must live moment to moment, in order to survive. At least, I believe this to be true.

What happened yesterday might still haunt you or depress you, but it is in the past. The past cannot be changed. You only have this moment.

What can happen in the future might scare you, but it is only a thought. There is no guarantee that tomorrow will arrive. You only have this moment.

Each of us has a choice whether to live in this moment. It is a choice. Yet, too often we live our lives in autopilot, immersed in what seems important now, but really isn’t. There are so many things we waste our lives over to get ahead, to gain control, to find happiness, at the expense of what really counts—which is this moment, and only this moment.

Often we delude ourselves at the expense of enjoying this moment of time.

One of the most important decisions you can make and focus your time and energy is living in the present moment. What does this mean?

Living in the moment means that you must give up the past. It cannot be changed. Living in the moment means that you stop worrying about the future—as it is only a dream or part of your imagination. You often cannot control the future. Nor can you predict it, despite all the time and energy you give it. Furthermore, approximately 85% of what you worry about never becomes reality. So, let tomorrow take care of itself—and it will.

Living in the present moment means accepting that which cannot be changed and focusing on that which you can change and control. Yet, often we don’t know how or don’t have the insight.

Far too often we worry about things that are just not important. Or we become workaholics. Or we drink too much or eat too much, deluding ourselves that we will live the long life and maintain our good health. Or we become caught up in our lives at the expense of our relationships, family, and friends. Or we chase the career, fancy car, or big house…or whatever, and neglect the present moment.

Living in the present moment means that you become mindful of today. You experience what you are thinking and feeling and doing at this moment. You block what has occurred yesterday, and you refuse to dream about what might be.

Living in the present moment also means that you find a way to enjoy today. Often, it can mean this hour, or this minute, or these few moments of time. It might be a conversation with a good friend, or reading a good book, or taking a peaceful walk.

I have lost my health. The experience taught me to see that life and my health are precious.  The experience also taught me that we often have no control over what will happen in our lives. And the experience taught me that I have control over only this moment of time, as I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, although I can plan for it. 

I have also learned that most people take their health and their life for granted, assuming that good health and a long life will be theirs for the foreseeable future. And yet, this is often not so. Life is full of surprises. Adversity lurks continuously. It is an inevitable part of life. Just as death is inevitable. For most, it is a thief in the night, knocking at the door of life when a person least expects it. Therefore, it is important to live in the present moment.

Far to frequently, life surprises us with something that overwhelms us. Adversity strikes, catching us off guard, when we least expect it, such as a death, loss of job, illness, or an accident.  Therefore, it is important to live in the present moment.

Living in the present moment doesn’t mean you live blissfully, neglecting your future. You still need to plan for the future by setting goals and by problem solving. Living in the present moment means that you choose to stop worrying about your future after you have set your goals. Worry is wasted energy.

Living in the present moment also assumes that when you experience a setback, you work at solving the problem.

Living in the present moment means that you let go of the past. Why dwell on something you cannot change? You cannot change the past—but you can learn from it. If you think about it, you only have this moment of time.

Living your life is also about living a balanced life—part work, part play, part social, part spiritual, and remembering that you have only got today—these moments. 

Living in the present means that you count your blessings and savour the small joys of life.

If you are dwelling on the past or worried about the future, refocus your time and energy on the here and now. Learn to live in the present moment. Because all your really have is this moment of time.

If you have an opinion, please contact me at www.davehood59@gmail.com .

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1 Comment

  1. binzy says:

    Beautiful essay………..you sound like Ekhart Tolle, especially his book ” The power of now”.

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Freelance Photographer and Writer

David Hood

David Hood

Artistic/Creative Type

Bachelor of Arts Degree, Diploma, and many writing and photography courses.

Many years experience as a writer

Freelance writer and digital photographer

Published author of "The Art and Craft of Creative Writing"

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F4VOYRK

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