I don’t get to be with my mom often, I live in Australia and she’s in the US. I knew I needed to make the most of our short time together. On my recent trip to the homeland I planned to practice savouring the moments by being present. My mission was to soak up the joy of the everyday things.
I appreciated waking early to share a tea just the two of us, I actively listened to her stories and I made sure to hug her extra long, just a little longer than usual just because I could.
The biggest benefit of being present was I felt more joy.
It was as if my “joy meter” was enhanced just by being in the moment. Indeed, life is more joyful when we are present to our experience.
I was living in the joy bubble, drinking a glass of wine with my mom, laughing a big belly laugh when it hit me. A wave of sadness swiftly took me down when I thought about how this was our last night together. I was leaving tomorrow and I already missed her. Even when I was sitting right next to her, I was missing her. My anxiety of the future was ruining the present moment.
Being a seasoned pro in missing people I knew my mindfulness super powers could help.
In the good times, it’s easy to be present. It’s in the not so good times we really need the practice.
So what did I do, and what can you do to be more present? Practice now.
1. Breathe. Simple, right? Not so simple if you aren’t aware of your breath. Begin to inhale and exhale through the nose. Try it right now. Be aware of yourself inhaling deeply and exhaling completely. A few rounds of mindful breath are like magic to bring you into the present moment. I became aware of the moment and came back to enjoying a glass of wine with my mom.
2. Slow down. Just as you have become mindful of your breath, start to slow it down. I actually tell myself, “Slow down, T.” This will also help to slow down the entourage of thoughts. Keep breathing and just observe the thoughts. I saw the thought arise, being sad about missing my mom, and I was able to just be aware of it. No need to find a resolution, just breathe through the roller coaster in my mind.
3. Pay Attention. Are you in this moment or is your mind in the future or the past? Bring your focus to what you’re doing right now, this exact moment, this breath. It’s when we pay attention we can be fully present. So I started paying attention to how joyful it felt to be with my mom. A few more breaths and the anxiety subsided.
When we are sharing time with loved ones, it is truly a gift. A precious moment, with no guarantee for the next.
Dwell in this joy.
Tara B is a Mindfulness and Meditation teacher. Her blog, “Keep it Real”, goes straight to the heart of real life struggles and how mindfulness and meditation can enhance your life in a positive way. Experience her free Practices.