In the personal and spiritual development world, we often talk about how important it is to live in the “NOW”. We teach you to meditate, be in the moment, let go of fears and just trust. But is it really possible to live your life, YOUR life, with your job and your kids and all the chaos of your everyday world, while being in the NOW? Is that, ahem, realistic? Or is it just a pretty idea, something you wish you could do, but ultimately more of a fairy tale? Well, I’m personally convinced that it’s not only totally doable, but it’s actually the perfect state for us to be in. With that in mind, I’ve been on a quest to become ever more present, not theoretically, but practically. Like, that’s how I’m endeavoring to live my life. And ok, to be fair, I’m not exactly what you’d call normal, but then, if you’re reading this blog, then the chances are good that neither are you. So, if you’re going to be a freak, then you might as well be a super happy shiny puppy freak.
Today, I’m going to share with you why I think that living in the NOW is the perfect state, energetically speaking, why it can lead you to be the happiest you’ve ever been, and my own experiences in endeavoring to achieve that state.
What does living in the NOW actually mean?
Ok, so we do talk a lot about living in the NOW. I wrote a huge, epic post on it, which explained the whole concept. At the time that I wrote that post, I had just had the experience of spending several hours (versus a few minutes) being fully present, in a state of total allowing, for the first time in my life. It was pure ecstasy and I wanted to share that state with you as soon as I could. The concept seemed to resonate deeply with many of you. But I’ve since come further, and I’d like to give you an updated and more practical view.
When we talk about being in the NOW, it’s the same thing as saying that we’re fully present, or in a state of perfect allowing. It means that you’re like a leaf, floating on the water, just going with the flow. You’re not trying to control anything, you’re not trying to make anything happen; you’re just letting it happen and trusting that it will be awesome no matter what. This amount of trust isn’t easy to come by, and it has to be built up over time. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t doable.
Being in the NOW means just focusing on the experience you’re having, with no expectation of where it might (or has to) take you. It means being like a child, wide eyed, interested, curious and expectant of awesomeness. There is no need for any experience to turn out in a specific way. A child is happy to play with a toy, just because it’s fun. It’s about the experience, not some other goal. It doesn’t have to lead to anything (although it might and often does), it doesn’t have to be a teaching moment (although it often is), and it doesn’t have to be productive (although, of course, it can be and often is, massively so). Children are masters at being in the NOW. They spend much time thinking about the past, and aren’t really interested in the future (especially not all the negative warnings about the future, making it seem like the least fun place on earth). They’re only really interested in what’s happening right now, in front of them, and how that experience feels.
In essence, to have the experience of perfect allowing, you have to be willing to be more childlike (which is not the same as childish).
But what about all the crap I have to get done?
“Fine”, I can hear you saying. “I’d love to be all wide eyed and childlike. Only, I have a job to go to, and bills to pay, and dinner to make, and screaming kids to corral. I can’t just stop what I’m doing, go out in the garden and stare at a butterfly for half the day.” Fair enough. The idea isn’t that you suddenly step out of the life you’ve created. That would be incredibly stressful, and since that’s a negative emotion, that’s not going to be conducive to you aligning yourself with Who You Really Are and what you really want. The goal is to feel good and be happy, and as willing as many of you are to sacrifice yourselves in order to reach your goals, happiness cannot be achieved at the expense of feeling good. Ever.
There are things you want to get done. There are things I want to get done. I may not have children or a corporate job anymore, but trust me, I’m busy as f&%k. Sometimes, the sheer volume of work I face overwhelms me. I have to earn money, and I have clients to keep happy. I have admin work to do, and vendors to deal with, and a social life to fit in. Plus, I have to clean my house and do my laundry and do my grocery shopping and cook meals so I don’t starve. It’s not like I’m just sitting on the terrace all day, sipping drinks with umbrellas in them, while an army of servants tends to my every need (well, at least not yet). So, perhaps, my experience is not that different from yours. You have shit you have to get done and so do I.
What I’ve realized, however, is that it can be hard, and frustrating and time consuming to get all that shit done, or it can be easy and enjoyable and quick. The difference is in whether or not you’re aligned with the energy of Who You Really Are and letting the Universe help you with your tasks or not. Sure, shit has to get done, but YOU don’t have to personally do it all. And yes, I can hear you collectively objecting now. “Who the hell else is going to do it?”
Other people aren’t as useless as you think
Well, sometimes, other people, whom you’re not currently aware of, or giving enough credit to. You may think that your kids will never help around the house, but trust me on this: they could well surprise you if you let them. You just have to open yourself up to the possibility of that happening. I have a client whose 10 year old son got up early on more than one occasion, fed the other kids and made the parents coffee, so they could sleep in. That’s right, a 10 year old. I have personally seen people who seemed lazy and uncooperative, do a 180 and become very helpful once I changed my vibration and allowed them to help me.
Consider this: if it seems that no one is ever willing to help you, it’s not that you’re surrounded by a bunch of selfish bastards. It’s not them, it’s you, my darling. You’re blocking helpful souls from coming to you. You’re not ALLOWING anyone to help you. I promise you that there are people in your reality right now, who could be assisting you with something, whose help you are blocking. If you’ve ever run around like a headless chicken while dismissing your guests’ offers to help (because they’re probably just being nice, right?), you’re not letting people help you. If you think you have to be everyone’s safety net at work because everyone else is incompetent, you’re not allowing them to shine in your presence. Your expectation of them is shaping your experience of them, not the other way around.
Create a different expectation of them, bit by bit, and then ask them to assist you. You’ll be astounded by how cooperative the people around you can become.
Leveraging the power of the Universe
At other times, you may still perform the actual action, but due to the perfect timing of circumstances lining up, what might normally take you hours to accomplish, suddenly only takes you minutes. This is called leverage and I can’t recommend it enough. This is where inspired action comes in. When I’m inspired to write, for example, I can knock out 3,500 words in an hour. The post will be nearly perfect, require no editing apart from a grammar and spell check, and make perfect sense. There is no pre-planning, no outline, no research (generally speaking, but when there is, the research is really fun), and no “I wonder how I should word that.” It just comes out. When I’m not inspired, I stare at a blank page, trying to come up with the words to express an unclear concept. It’s hazy. It’s frustrating. It’s hard. It takes forever. And the end product, quite frankly, leaves a lot to be desired. That’s why I only write when I’m inspired.
If I clean my house when I’m inspired, I have fun. Everything just flows. When I’m not inspired, I might hurt myself in small ways, I’ll drop stuff, someone calls me in the middle of it and interrupts me. There are all kinds of delays. I don’t really want to do it. It takes much longer, and I don’t feel nearly as good about the whole process after. It’s feels like forced labor, even though I’m the one doing the forcing.
When I’m inspired, I can do 2 weeks’ worth of admin work in a few hours. When I’m not, it feels like I’m moving through molasses. When I let the Universe help me, I reach the person who can help me on the first try, instead of talking to 6 unhelpful and incompetent people first. I find the information I’m looking for in 5 minutes, instead of having to spend hours searching through the internet. There are no lines in the stores I go into. They have the products I need instead of being out of stock. Everything just becomes incredibly convenient. That’s leverage.
Avoiding the unnecessary
Sometimes, things just take care of themselves, or, you figure out that the action you thought was necessary, isn’t actually relevant and would’ve been wasted. There are going to be times when you’re inspired NOT to do something, or simply to do nothing. This is the hardest concept to deal with. We don’t trust the impulse to do nothing. Surely, we should be doing something? But often, things aren’t as they seem. Circumstances are about to change, or the goal we thought was the best we could hope for, isn’t. And taking the action we think we should take would actually just cost us a crap load of time and accomplish nothing in the long run. Or, a much better solution is on the way.
I’ve learned to trust the impulse to do nothing (ok, I do still fight it a bit now and then… But I usually get there in the end). It’s saved me an enormous amount of time and work. Here’s one example: I wanted to have my bathroom tap and the drainage pipe under the sink replaced. The whole thing was old and leaky. I had a worker in to fix something else and he gave me a quote, including the price of the new tap, which he would purchase for me. It wasn’t a bad deal, but my intuition said no. I should wait. And so I did. A couple of months later, my kitchen tap began to break (it’s an old apartment with very old fixtures). I couldn’t have known this was coming, but the Universe did. At the same time, I found just the bathroom fixtures I wanted while shopping for something else, along with some space saving shelving that would help me reorganize the whole space. I found a plumber (it took me 5 minutes with Google, thank you inspiration), who had great references and an awesome attitude. It turned out that the kitchen faucet was not only old and broken, but that the fixtures used very old measurements, which weren’t in use anymore. Finding a faucet to fit them would (normally) be difficult. But because this particular plumber was involved in large refurbishment projects, he had some sources that were able to find not only a fitting tap in a short amount of time (a surprise to him, but not to me), but one that I absolutely adored. Oh, and also, I got one hell of a deal on it. He installed all the fixtures, plus the new shelving, and gave me a fantastic price. Had I not waited when my intuition said to, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the bathroom faucet I wanted, wouldn’t have bought the shelving (the awesome faucet inspired me to do more), and wouldn’t have had such an easy experience replacing the hard to source kitchen faucet. It was all incredibly easy. All I had to do was allow it be so.
Building trust incrementally
Finding a way to trust that things will work out, that the world will not end even if you go ahead and relax a little, is paramount to living in the NOW. And this trust can be build up incrementally. Don’t just stop doing anything at all. Your belief system probably won’t let you move that quickly. But give up the need to control every little detail, to do it all yourself, bit by bit.
Start by looking at your day tomorrow. How does it feel? Hectic? Overwhelming? Like it’s going to be a struggle? Well, change it. Pick one thing you have to do tomorrow and envision it being easy. You might be expecting the whole process of getting the kids up and ready for school and out of the house to be chaotic. But, what if it wasn’t? What if they cooperated, and were pleasant? What if you all had a great time? What if they got dressed and you all ate together and your trip to school was actually fun? Now, if your mind is sarcastically quipping “You don’t know my family, Melody. That’s never going to happen”, then that’s your resistance talking. I mean, seriously, you’re not even willing to freaking imagine it going well? That’s on you, not them. If you can’t even use your imagination to create a situation in the non-physical, then you certainly aren’t going to create it in your physical reality. So, in that sense, you’re right. It’s not ever going to happen. But not because of them. Because you’re not willing to create it differently.
Focus on one aspect of the day, something that bugs you, something that you’ve clearly built up a negative expectation about, and work on visualizing it going well and feeling good. It may take you a few tries, but keep at it. Once you can really see it going well and that scenario feels “right” to you, you’ll be amazed at how your reality will begin to change for the better. And when it does, don’t treat it as a random coincidence. Understand that you did that. You lined up with a change. And if you can do that, you can do more.
Using that trust to be in the NOW more
As you build that trust, the trust that things can work out for you, be easier and run more smoothly, and that you don’t have to do it all yourself, you’ll be able to let go of the need to control everything bit by bit. Don’t try to do this all at once. It won’t work and you may end up giving yourself a panic attack.
But, as you begin to really realize, not just theoretically but experientially, that you have a lot more help and support than you ever thought, and that things can just work out for you, even if you don’t MAKE them do it, you’ll be ready for the next step.
I’ve started doing the following exercise recently and have been having the time of my life: The other day, I had a lot of errands to run. I needed to go to multiple stores and had very little time to do any of it. In fact, I didn’t have enough time to accomplish it all. I tried to pare down my shopping list to just the bare necessities, and planned to buy the rest later in the week. This wouldn’t be convenient, but you do what you have to do, right? I’d carefully planned out my shopping route, which store to hit first, and second and so on, to make sure I’d get everything I absolutely needed before running back home for my next appointment.
Well, at the last minute, I decided to throw out my plan. When I stepped out onto the street, I paused for a moment and just listened. Which way should I go? I was prompted to go to the grocery store first. This was weird, since I wouldn’t want to schlepp all that food around with me, including perishables, while shopping in the heat. But, my intuition insisted. There were no lines at the store (weird for that time of day), so I was in and out in no time. Weighed down and with time to spare, I went home and unloaded the food. Before heading out again, I decided to take out the recycling (one of the things I had pushed to later in the week.) I was then prompted to go to a shop which wasn’t on my list. Even though it was a massive store, I found a whole host of times I’d been meaning to buy, which would make my life a lot easier, but which just never seemed to be enough of a priority. Led by my intuition, I found every item in seconds. And again, there was no line.
I kept drifting along for the next couple of hours, coming home in time for my appointment, and having taken care of not only every item on my priority shopping list, but the nice to have one, as well. Oh, and a few other items I’d kept postponing. I achieved more in those two hours than I usually did in a week of shopping, and did so easily. It was pleasant and fun. Every store clerk I encountered was helpful and happy. No one stepped in my way and delayed me. Hell, even traffic lights were green just when I needed them to be. The Universe knew exactly what I wanted and had mapped out a plan that would allow me to accomplish it in the time I had – a plan I wouldn’t have ever logically come up with. All I had to do was listen and trust.
Why not try it yourself? Choose a day that isn’t filled with super critical activities. If there’s too much pressure on you to “make it happen, or else the world will end”, you won’t be able to relax into the flow. In other words, start with an easy day. It can even be a day of leisure (like when you’re doing something with the kids). When you step out of the house,
- Check your expectation. It had better be positive. If it isn’t, adjust it. Expect awesomeness, but don’t get specific. Just awesomeness. You want it to be fun. Don’t worry about HOW that fun has to come about. The less rigid your expectations are, the better.
- Get still and listen. Ask “which way should I go?” The impulses you get may be faint at first. You may just have a very slight feeling to go one way, or NOT to go another.
- Follow whatever impulse you get, even if you think it’s all in your mind. You can’t develop the skill of hearing your intuition if you’re not willing to listen and act on it. Again, if you start with less important things, you’ll have an easier time.
As you do this, it will become easier and easier to feel like the leaf floating on the river. You’ll realize that the Universe always knows your intentions. You don’t constantly have to be holding on to them. You can just float. You can just trust. You can be like a child, moving from awesome adventure to awesome adventure and STILL get all your shit done. Because the Universe is freaking miraculous like that. And why, I ask you, would it be set up any other way?