The most transformative moments in our lives are those moments when all of a sudden something important is illuminated.
When we have those big Aha’s!
The trigger could be a simple or profound insight, or a life-changing event – like a birth or a death, a marriage or a divorce – or the trigger could even be an experience like the one we might have standing on top of a mountain for the first time.
What we are feeling is ALIVENESS!
And it is in these trigger moments, good or bad, that we actually are the most alive. We feel a certain type of energy in the air. We feel the skin on our body and the beating of our heart. We feel totally connected. We are present in the moment. It’s electric – it’s what some call a peak experience. Because in those moments and during those life events we know we are really HERE! It’s visceral!
And that’s just it, we feel these peak experiences so intensely because, during them, we are smack dab in the middle of the power of life.
What’s happening the rest of the time?
We’re still alive, of course, doing our thing, going through the motions, perhaps even fairly consciously.
But what if every moment in our lives or at least lots more of them felt just as electric as a peak experience? What if we were fully tuned in far more of the time? What if we could have that heightened “electricity-in-the-air experience” all the time?
I remember when my son was born. We were given a book titled “On the Day You Were Born”. It showed every aspect of nature, on our own planet earth, and our own planet in motion with everything else – the entire universe. And all of it was welcoming our baby into life … into the world, into the motion of everything … into the flow.
It was such an exciting feeling to see these connections so clearly in that pivotal moment. We are all part of the flow. We ARE the flow.
Everything is connected, and everyone affects all things at all times.
Those momentous peak experiences simply remind us of this fact. But in reality, we are always in the flow. And even more, we are directing it all the time.
We just don’t know it or notice it.
But here’s the thing:
We DO have the ability to be present to that connection daily. And WOW! What an opportunity that is.
To wake up, grab our life force, and really show up in our lives. No matter what we are doing. To take off the filters that cloud our connection and, with the intention of being fully present, step into the aliveness of the moment.
And intention is all it takes to begin to learn how to feel that aliveness every day and to learn how to keep that feeling going.
Here are some simple ways to practice …
Right now, as you’re listening to me, notice if your brain has taken you to the next item on your to-do list, taken you away from being where you actually are in this very moment. Are you here? Or are you thinking about what’s next? Or what happened earlier today?
In order to be present in this moment, I’d like you to do a quick experiment. First, find your feet. And put all of your attention/concentration in your feet. Feel them. I’m doing it too. Second, Feel your feet connected to the floor or ground. And now BREATHE … breathe all the way into your feet … and, as you do, feel your breath move through the rest of your body.
Perfect! Thank you for doing that with me. You are now in your body. And once you are in your body you are on the road to being present.
The more you breathe into your feet and feel that you are actually connected to the earth, the more the rest of your body will start to show up too. Because what you are doing is taking your energy and attention out of your head and bringing it home into your physicality – into your physical being … into the present moment. And it only takes a minute.
Once we are in our bodies we can really see where we are. Our focus is fully on what is around us, our vision is zeroed in on the now.
Our culture makes multi-tasking seem attractive, but when we are doing one thing and thinking about another, or doing multiple things at once, it’s pretty hard to breathe and be in your body … and, therefore, it’s difficult to truly feel alive or to simply enjoy the present experience of being fully engaged in a task.
To build on the exercise we just did and help you become even more present, walk around the room you are in or, if you are outside, even better.
First, connect to your feet, take a breath, and walk slowly forward. As you do, feel your footsteps … the bottoms of your feet connecting to and releasing their connection with the floor or earth. Then, as you walk, begin to name aloud or silently to yourself every object or being you see, taking each in fully.
Really notice what is around, you …
The lamp with the burlap shade, the wooden table, the striped cat, the woman with the red coat, the mirror with the gilded frame, the crazy patterned pillow, the tree fallen in the path.
With every object or being you name as you walk, you will become more and more present to the moment, more and more grounded … feeling more and more alive.
For those of you who feel anxious from time to time – this exercise alone is a great anxiety reducer. Again, just a few minutes spent doing this exercise will make a world of difference.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “stop and smell the roses.” And most of us take that saying as a caution to slow down, to take the time to enjoy life, to stop doing too much. It might be just the ticket.
It’s good advice at times… and it may sound a lot like what I’m talking about – but it’s not.
And perhaps it’s not the most helpful advice for today’s fast-paced world or in times of real stress.
We need to realize that at whatever speed we’re moving, no matter what is happening – good or bad – and regardless of how much we have on our plates, we can and need to be fully present and we want to feel fully alive.
Aliveness has nothing to do with stopping. It has nothing to do with how much we have going on. If we stop to smell the roses, we might not actually be smelling them if we’re thinking about what we have to do next.
And in fact, sometimes the most alive we feel is when we’re moving at lightning speed …
As long as we stay in the present.
So, don’t stop and smell roses … instead learn how to get into the present regardless of how fast you’re moving or what is happening (and yes you may need to slow down to do that at first), but after you practice and learn it …
Move fast, move slow, do a lot, do a little, take breaks, get back to it … and through it all … BE PRESENT … LIVE YOUR WHOLE LIFE IN THAT ZONE – fully connected, fully in the flow, fully alive.