The word “be” is a more powerful word than we give it credit. From Merriam Webster’s website, one of the many meanings they assign is: "to have an objective existence: have reality or actuality: I think, therefore I am." Did that sentence mean “now?” or the “past?” I think it means being in the “now!”
We are human beings (emphasis on “beings”) so would it be safe to say that “being” is what makes us human? I think as human beings we acknowledge and recognize reality and actuality to the point that we lavish in the now - and then complain about how life moves so fast. As I look back at my life there are so many moments that I would like to have back - not because of regret but rather to return and better appreciate the “now” moment and not take it for granted. Do you have those moments? Remember that moment when you were on vacation thinking about work and answering emails instead of being engaged with your kids? Or how about when you were having dinner with friends and you caught your mind drifting to a pending deal that hit a snag? Or, better yet, when your child was talking with you and completely engaged and your only responses were “canned” answers as you feigned listening because your thoughts were elsewhere? When I think about those missed opportunities for engagement, I feel horrible. You?
For me, those squandered and under-appreciated moments are because my head is full of fireworks - thinking about work, the next deal, or tomorrow’s training session instead of surrendering and being absorbed in THAT moment - THAT actuality! I believe that professional adult ADD comes from our ambitions getting the best of our human being-ness, thereby preventing many of us from being “present” in the present. Have you ever felt physically present but emotionally absent because you were inside your head? It sucks! I appreciate my ambition but as I grow older I look at my ambition as a double-edged sword; it serves me well when it comes to my sense of accomplishment and purpose but, on the flip side, it distracts me from truly being engaged in the moment and in my experience. Can you relate?
Here is what I am trying and I am going to ask you to try with me. (No ADD meds or alcohol required.) I have decided to set the following traps to help snare me into more “now” moments, otherwise wasted. Here is my list of traps:
- Eliminate having a tight, inflexible schedule where my commitments are back-to-back, especially as it relates to family matters. When I rush, I fail to fully digest my last experience.
- If there is a child present, migrate to the child and talk. The natural curiosity of a child is precious and invites engagement.
- Read more about current events so I can add to conversations or initiate one. Otherwise, I risk fading into my private thoughts.
- Take more pictures. With smartphones, there is no reason not to document your “now” moments. (When on vacation or at a special event, I take plenty of pictures but not at other notable moments.)
- Make time for me (that does not mean the drive home) so I can digest and download my day and ponder the day’s decisions, experiences, and tomorrow’s to-dos, and then leave it all behind!
I’ll be honest, there is no guarantee these newly invented traps will be the cure-all for mind drifting but it’s better than continuing on not being in the “now” moments only to regret later not being present at the time. I invite you to play along and give me your feedback on this quest to be more present than absent.