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The Present of the Present

Posted on Feb 5, 2015 by in Positively Speaking | 3 comments

I didn’t really plan to start my day with an exercise in staying in the present moment, but that’s what happened! You and I both know that the present is really all we have. To live in the past is to live in regret, confusion, or repetition of thought patterns that need changing. To live in the future is to live a life just out of reach, or of worry and fear about what may happen. To live in the present is to live in the one facet of time where action leads to results.
But, how often do we place our focus on this awareness? I once went an entire day with the dominant thought to myself being, “What is my relationship to this moment?”. I didn’t come up with that idea, and I’m sorry to say I don’t remember where I read it, but boy was it an eye-opening experiment! I was in a job I greatly disliked, and in a financial situation that was less than desirable, in a city I didn’t want to live in. What I discovered was that each moment that I asked myself, “What is my relationship with this moment?”, I realized I was happy. I was always taken care of by Almighty God. I had no needs left unattended. My world wasn’t scary, hectic, stressful, or diminutive in any way when I dissected it into these little “presents”. These amazing wonderful presents. Where magic occurs in bountiful ways. Where peace and acceptance are plentiful and appreciated. It’s a great experiment to try sometime!
So, getting back to my aha moment today. I played tennis this morning. I usually play in my ladies’ doubles league one morning a week. This week, I happened to play two days in a row. My match yesterday was ugly! My partner and I both were very inconsistent and distracted. When she would get focused, I wasn’t, and vice versa. I knew that I was allowing myself to get discombobulated and it felt frustrating.
With the chance to redeem myself as a tennis player within 24 hours, I was motivated to devise a plan. Quite simply, that plan was to stay focused. To approach my match with intentionality – stroke by stroke, point by point. True to form for me, my mind started wandering in the first game. But I was diligent with my thoughts. Moment by moment. I’m only effective in the present moment. And guess what? It worked! I was able to maintain my mantra throughout the entire match. My performance was head and shoulders above the previous day’s. What a feeling of victory and satisfaction! And I’m not speaking of winning a tennis match (though we did). It’s a personal victory, a recognition of success over my errant thoughts.
With proving this concept of the “present of staying present”, how can I tolerate certain things in myself? Can I tolerate mediocrity? Heck no! I know I can always do better. Can I tolerate inconsistency? Nope! How about trepidation? Not if I stick with the intentionality of staying present!
Miracles happen in the moment of now! And I love miracles! I’ll dub them “Presents of mind”! Being disciplined with your thoughts will give rise to a higher level of effectiveness with your life and your life’s work. We all have this inherent potential. Why not integrate this simple approach and enjoy your own share of miracles? And in the process, you may just happen to enrich the lives of those around you!



  1. Beautifully written!

  2. I realized when I was reading this that I was shaking my head and saying Yes, Yes, Yes to myself.
    “Presents of mind” is a clever turn of words that hits the nail.
    Fighting distracting thoughts is a daily battle for me. I am winning the war, but I have to be ever vigilant. I’m curious if you have an opinion on what causes us to be distracted. For me, it’s about competition and what others think of me. As soon as I realize that I’m going in that direction, I squelch it and get focused but the tendency is relentless.
    I enjoyed hearing your perspective on this nagging issue.

    • I think recognizing that your thoughts are going in an errant direction is essential. I like to use what I call “pattern interrupts”. Those include temporary tattoos I put on my arm (stories about those are on my website, The Heart Scar Story and The Rocket Star Story under the Resources tab), neon poster board with phrases I display in prominent places I will see, redirecting my thoughts with selected happy music, and mirror work to name a few. Judgement (which includes competition and what others think of you) is a human condition that we would all benefit from decreasing our attention to. I work on that myself on a regular basis. That’s why I can get distracted on the Pickleball court. I notice my game improves when I’m able to tune out all the chatter and shenanigans around me and focus on my own performance and concentration. I agree with you about the relentlessness of it. Enough already, right? Keep doing what you’re doing – awareness allows you to redirect quickly. I have two books from a British author that have helped me with that. Creating a Bug Free Mind and Using a Bug Free Mind by Andy Shaw. Check them out!!