For most of my life I have had lived with pictures in my mind of what it will look like when I find true happiness.
These pictures that I held were often “things” or “accomplishments” that I wanted. Like many, I told myself that when I get this promotion, I will be happy…. When I make X amount of money, I will be happy, When I lose weight, I will be happy….. On and on, an exhausting cycle of chasing, striving and endless want.
The ironic thing is that once I got what I thought I wanted, I found that I was no happier at all. That was followed by setting my standards even higher. More money, more things, more, more more…. I felt completely overwhelmed. Sometimes I felt like I was running 100mph to get through my to do list and I couldn’t even tell you what my kids wore to school that day. The truth is that I was existing but never truly living.
I still struggle with this EVERYDAY, and I still beat myself up about it.. “What is wrong with you, you are a yoga teacher, why can’t you “get this”. . Just because I teach yoga, practice meditation and read all about living in the present moment does not mean that I do not still have a ton of work to do.
We hold ourselves to unreasonably high expectations, lose ourselves in the need to accomplish, and run through our days without even stopping to appreciate the beautiful things around us. Your family, the sun, your breath.
Let go of the impossible expectation that life is/will/can ever be PERFECT. As a society, we chase perfection. The reality is, perfection does not exist.
We have all heard about how important it is to “Be Present”. That in itself is a very beautiful idea, but most will not even know how to begin. Try the below practice this week and just notice how many times you can pull yourself back into the present moment. The moment we are in right now is life, and it is the only thing that holds the key to happiness.
“Am I here?”
To be here only requires that you NOT be somewhere else. The first step in being present therefore is to pay attention to where your attention actually is. Ask yourself, “Where am I right now?” or simply, “Am I here?” Make this simple but profound question a habit. Are you at the park with you kids and thinking about the laundry that needs to be folded when you get home, or are you noticing the beautiful changing leaves, listening to their laughter, feeling the sun on your skin? Pull yourself back to those things and you are then living in the NOW.