In my recent post Dear LOA: Is It Ok To Enjoy Reality TV Shows, I mentioned that I’d watched a season of a show called The X Factor. I discussed how I’d actually gotten quite a bit of benefit from a television show which, at first glance, doesn’t seem to hold many spiritual or life lessons. Today, I’d like to highlight one of the insights I think this show presents.
The show’s premise is simple: It’s essentially a talent competition, where contestants are asked to give more and more challenging performances and celebrity judges decide who goes through to the next round. The performers are a mix of seasoned professionals and incredibly talented individuals who have little or no experience in front of actual audiences. As you can imagine, with so many people watching (millions) and a recording contract on the line, nerves come into play in a big way. After each contestant performs, they are asked to remain on stage while the judges give their feedback. And it’s during this time that something interesting happens: The contestants often break down with self-criticism. There they are, just having performed to millions of people, one of the biggest opportunities an artist could hope for, and all they can think of is “I should’ve done better.” During one episode, as a contestant began to fall apart after they had given an amazing performance, one of the judges ran up to her, hugged her, looked her in the eye and firmly said: “This is your moment. Take your moment.” And the contestant understood. She composed herself and calmed down. It was as though she realized where she was, what she had just accomplished, and began to focus on what was going on in front of her. She looked more confident and she even began to smile a bit as she appreciated the cheers from the audience and the energy in the room. She took her moment.
Ok, so what the hell does this have to do with you or the Law of Attraction? I’m glad you asked! You see, what this show highlighted was that many of us are guilty of not taking our moment. We’re so busy living in our heads, overthinking things, dissecting and criticizing, that we often fail to see what’s going on right in front of us. And in so doing, we often miss out on or even ruin what could potentially be the best moments of our lives (thus far). Let me give you some examples:
How you throw your moment away
- If someone comes over to your house, do you immediately begin to apologize for the imperfections that no one but you cares about? Do you worry about what they’re thinking, how they might be judging you, or if they’re as comfortable as they could be?
- When you host a dinner, do you spend most of your time serving people, making sure that everyone else has a good time, while they repeatedly beg you to sit the hell down already?
- When you’re giving a presentation at work, are you so worried about what your boss or coworkers think that you don’t even remember how you made it through the damn thing, you’re just glad you did?
- When you’re in a conversation, are you frequently worried that you’re talking too much, too long, too loud, or just outright boring them?
- When you’re having sex, are you so focused on your partner’s pleasure that you can’t fully let go and experience your own?
- Can you get through a conversation without checking your smartphone?
- Do you try to multitask?
- Are you often worrying about the next 12 things you have to do, in an effort to be prepared for anything, so you can’t be blindsided?
What taking your moment really means
You see, “taking your moment” doesn’t have anything to do with performing. It’s all about being in the NOW, being fully present and enjoying the moment you’re in at this very second. We are designed to have a very narrow focus, so that we can have a very specific experience. As part of this design, we do not have the ability to hold more than one thought at a time. We can try (this is called multitasking), but the best we can do is to quickly switch back and forth between thoughts. True multitasking is not possible for us. We cannot be fully present in two experiences at the same time. You’re either fully here, or you’re not.
So, when you’re at dinner and you’re checking your emails or worrying about what happened at work today, you’re not fully present. Instead of really tasting your food with all its carefully crafted flavor, and appreciating the chef’s talent, hard work and creativity, you’re merely going through the mechanical motions of eating. Instead of experiencing the nuances of the conversation you’re sort of involved in, hearing not just the words spoken but the unsaid meaning behind them, seeing the body language, the look in your partner’s eyes, and feeling their energy, you’re catching glimpses of information, figuring that if you get a few details here and there you can piece together the gist of what’s being said. If you’re hosting a dinner and spending all of your time running around, being the waitress, you’re missing the conversation, the laughs, and may even be having the opposite effect to the one you were trying to achieve: instead of making your guest more comfortable, you’re actually making it impossible for them to enjoy your company, one of the reasons they came to YOUR house.
The point is that when we’re not fully present, we miss out. And since our reality is essentially all about us, since our entire lives are just a series of OUR MOMENTS strung together, missing our moments means missing out on life itself, on our purpose for being here. This is how you merely exist rather than live. You have to take your moment, each and every moment, and as often as possible. I know, I know, that’s easier said than done. So here are some tips to help you take more of your moments.
How to take your moment
The first thing you want to do is to practice being present. Here’s an easy trick you can use to help you to step into the NOW: Stop whatever it is you’re doing and close your eyes. Take ten deep breaths. Now listen. What do you hear? Listen for even the tiniest sounds, traffic, birds singing, the refrigerator humming. As you listen, you’ll hear more and more. Then, what do you smell? Take your time. It may take you a few minutes to realize you’re smelling anything at all. Now feel. What can you feel? Become aware of your skin. Is the air hot or cold? Do you feel a breeze? What about your clothes? How do they feel on your skin? Is the fabric soft or rather rough? Are the clothes tight or loose? Are you comfortable? After you do this for a few minutes, you’ll automatically feel calmer. You’ll be more present. By paying attention to your senses, particularly those other than sight (unless you are blind, sight is the sense you rely on the most, so the means by which you get most of your information. Blind people should focus first on their senses other than hearing), you force yourself to pay attention to what’s going on NOW. You can take this much further, by engaging all your senses in any experience you have. In a restaurant, for example, what are you smelling, hearing, tasting and feeling?
Next, give yourself permission to be truly and positively selfish. This means that you need to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself first, that you do not put the needs of others ahead of your own. Others can be a very close second, but you need to come first. There’s a reason that airlines tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first in the event of an emergency. If you try to tend to another person before you take care of your own needs, you’ll probably both die. That would be what we, in the business, call a “Lose/Lose” scenario. Make the decision that you get to feel good, not AFTER everyone else feels good, but FIRST. You see, you have no control over how they feel, so if you can only relax once everyone else is happy, you’ll never get to sit down again (feel familiar anyone?). Tell yourself: “I get to come first”. Practice it until you start to mean it.
Finally, BE more selfish, and no, I don’t mean in a “You can all go screw yourselves, mommy is getting drunk every night” kind of way. Being truly selfish means not doing more than you truly want to do and then blaming others for how stressed out you feel. It means not being so arrogant to think that other people are too weak to do anything for themselves, or so humble and self-deprecating that you think it would be rude to ask them to. It means letting go of unimportant details that no one cares about, when focusing on them brings you anything but joy. Here are some examples of what I mean:
- If you’re hosting a party, ask everyone to help. Your guests can set the table, open wine, buzz people into the building, help set up chairs, etc. Serve everything as a buffet or family style, so you can prepare the food ahead of time (or do Pot Luck!) and then sit the hell down. Once you’re down, don’t get up. This is your moment. You worked hard to get everything ready, so this is your reward. If someone needs a drink, let them serve themselves. Oh, and while they’re up, could they be a gem and get another bottle of wine? People are usually glad to help out when given a chance to. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that if they wanted to help, they would just jump and in and do so. It’s awkward to just take over in someone else’s house and most people won’t. Also, keep in mind that no one wants to inconvenience you. If your guests know that wanting another glass of water means that you’ll go scurrying off to the kitchen again, they’re less likely to ask you for it. If they can serve themselves, they’re more likely to relax and consume what they want. Your guests will not only survive the humiliation and torture that is having to get up to get their own spoon/drink/second helping, they’ll actually appreciate the freedom to do so. After all, you don’t go to the bathroom for them, either, right?
- Turn your phone off. If you’re having a coffee/lunch/dinner or any lengthy conversation with someone, don’t check your phone. The texts and mails will be there later, I promise. Unless you’re waiting for a call from the President and you have the launch codes, it can wait. Remember, you’re either here or you’re not. Technology can make your life easier. It’s not supposed to rob you of the experience altogether. When you’re reading emails, read emails (if you’re checking them now and answering them later, that means you’re reading them twice, which is a huge waste of time). When you’re talking to someone, talk and listen. Be here fully or don’t bother. Having half a conversation isn’t fun for anyone, least of all you.
- Stop worrying about the future. The future is simply a fictional story that you’re telling yourself. When you worry, all you’re doing is telling yourself a crappy story. But, by doing so, you’re making it much more likely that you’ll be attracting that crappy future. You get what you focus on. So, if you are worrying about the future NOW, then your next NOW will be filled with evidence of that worry. If you’re present and appreciating and happy NOW, then your next NOW will be filled with evidence of that. There’s no easier way to line up with a wonderful future than to fully take your moment NOW and appreciate it for all its worth.
- Understand that when you worry about what others think of you, when you’re worried about how you’re coming across, you set energy in motion that makes them see you differently. In other words, you can make them judge you by worrying about them judging you. I had this experience myself just recently. I was with my Master Mind group, a truly exceptional group of incredibly powerful female healers, when I had a moment of vulnerability. We often help each other shift energy when we meet. I noticed that as I was talking, one of the women seemed to be squirming in her seat, getting a bit tense, perhaps bored. In that moment, I became aware of my worry that I was taking up too much time, too much “space”. I shared my worry with the group (because that’s how we roll) and something amazing came to light. The second I began to worry, this woman began to become aware of how long I’d been talking. Up until that point, she had been fully appreciating the benefit of the conversation. My insecurity had caused her to react to it, even in her own mind. And the second that I released that insecurity, the whole group felt my energy increase. The benefit I offered others just by being in the room increased, and not just a little bit. What a powerful reminder that worrying even the teensiest bit about what others are thinking about us has a detrimental effect on the entire experience and actually keeps us from shining as brightly as we could. Wow. So when we worry about how we’re affecting others, we actually begin to influence them negatively. It all starts with us.
I’ve made “Take your moment” my new mantra. Like those contestants being on a stage in front of millions, we are all always on a stage, giving the performance of our lives. Literally. We can either take our moment and enjoy the crap out of it, or we can let it pass by, never to return. Sure, there will be other moments, but not exactly like this one. And THIS one. And THIS one… The Universe is putting on the best show EVER right there in front of us, and we get to star in it, but unless we pay attention to it, unless we take our moment in the present, NOW, we can’t fully enjoy it, benefit from it, or benefit others. When we take our moment, however, and the next and the next, we begin to realize just how amazing this show is. We become aware of just how awesome and cooperative other people are. We begin to really live the way we were meant to live. Life becomes easy, a series of synchronicities perfectly orchestrated for us. Yes, it really is that simple. Just take your moment. Go on. I dare you.