Follow your dreams…but don't miss out on the dream you're living right now
Having fun with my daughter
After my late husband passed away almost five years ago after a long illness, I promised myself that I would never again take life too seriously or too lightly. Meaning, I wouldn’t get emotionally caught up in the mundane stresses of life but I also wouldn’t ever take for granted this life that I have the privilege to live. I promised myself that I would actively and intentionally choose to live fully and boldly.
What does it mean to live fully? As I write this on a Saturday morning, my husband and daughter are asleep and I’m sitting here with my coffee with an old Tony Bennett record on the record player. I am in the moment, enjoying the peace of a new day, while writing, which is one of my favourite things to do. To me, this is what it means to live fully.
Yes, I have bigger, wilder dreams — to work remotely during winter months, live in Paris for a year, host a big, life-changing event. I believe fully in always having big dreams and goals. I believe in aiming for something that feels exciting and new and a little (or a lot!) scary too. But for someone who is a list-maker, a planner and a constant do-er, it is sometimes too easy to get caught up in achieving and striving. And that mindset can take you away from appreciating and being present in the dream you are living right now today.
Us humans, we thrive on progress. We feel alive when growing, achieving and dreaming. But I’ve been reflecting a lot lately as I too focus on these things, that it should never be in exchange for fully enjoying our lives as they are right now. Yes, even with challenges and problems we are facing — personal, professional, financial, health-related, we should and can still be fully present and joyful in our lives right now.
Five Ways to Be Present In Your Life Right Now:
Practice gratitude daily and spontaneously. This is far from a new idea, but that is because it is powerful. I’ve found the key is to pause and feel the gratitude deep in your heart. I also find joy and delight in appreciating unexpected moments to be grateful for during a day. The other day I was late for a meeting and for some reason my credit card didn’t work in the parking machine. Just as I wondered what to do, a construction worker who had finished work early walked past and offered me his pre-paid ticket. It is so easy to take moments like these for granted — instead choose to truly appreciate the magic in them.
Truly appreciate your environment. Let your eyes rest on your home, your office, your garden or even a piece of art that you love. Recently our family moved into a beautiful apartment. I spent time finding furniture, lighting and art that I loved but after it was all done, I found myself often scurrying about without allowing myself to enjoy the home we’d created. Now, when I come downstairs first thing in the morning, I let myself take in the beauty of our home (even with all the 2.5-year-old messes). Take in your surroundings. Make little adjustments. Acknowledge the lovely things you own and what they remind you of.
Look at people in their eyes. I am reminded about this by my daughter every day. My sister says that when my daughter looks at her, it is as if she is looking into her soul. When you meet people through the day, really look at them — see them. In our world of hyper-connectivity, we forget to actually connect to one another. Through Bob Proctor, a personal development expert, I learned about the concept of leaving people with the impression of increase. Sometimes, the simplest way to leave someone feeling better than they did before they came into contact with you is to truly look at them in their eyes.
- Have more fun. I went to an energy healer recently and she said that my energy flow felt tight, and very brain centred (vs heart-centred). As someone who identifies with being very heart-driven, it wasn’t what I wanted to hear but I also knew that it was true. Her prescription? Among other things, she asked me to have more child-like fun. To be more spontaneous and to practice enjoying life more. Now that is advice I am happy to take!
5. Pay attention to the joy in small rituals. Throughout our day there are moments or routines that can be transformed into wonderful rituals. Whether it is the ritual of making your morning coffee, choosing your outfit for the day, or watering your plant babies — do it with presence and with heart. Fully enjoy the beauty of living.
Until next time,
Kena, Founder, All You Are