I wish I could say that after I finished yesterday’s post and closed my computer I immediately fell into a dreamless slumber. Unfortunately it’s not completely the case. However, my mind was calmer and it wasn’t too much longer before I was able to stop the Spinning and finally sleep.
Of course, when I woke up in the morning this work dilemma was the first thing I thought of. As I made my way to the gym, it continued to be on the forefront of my mind. Indeed, I found myself in the middle of my circuits class, arms trembling as I tried to do my push-ups, completely distracted by the meeting I had later in the day.
Which is when it hit me. As my arms failed to cooperate, I realized that I was letting the worry over this meeting – which was still several hours in the future – rob me of my present moment.
I’ve been reading a lot recently about this idea of being “in the moment” or being “engaged in the present.” I confess its not something that I’m good at (yet). But the idea strikes a deep chord within my soul – mostly because I know that I spend a lot of time, in my mind, in either the past or the future (or in my imagination), instead of actually living in my present. Deepak Chopra, in his book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams, says “The past is history, the future is a mystery, and this moment is a gift. That’s why it’s called the ‘present.'” I have realized that, with my Spinning, I am literally throwing away thousands of gifts.
Such as the possibility to do a push up. Ok, that may not actually sound like a gift, but if you think about it, it’s actually true. I was throwing away not only the physical benefits of exercising – since I was so consumed with my thoughts that I couldn’t focus on the task on hand – but the mental benefits (all those endorphins….) as well. All so that I could worry about something that was, as Chopra says, a mystery.
So I decided to stop. Instead of thinking about the meeting, I started to focus on my body. How it felt in the room. The burn of the muscles. The sweat running down my forehead. The exhilaration of completing an exercise I didn’t think I could handle. By the end of class, I was in a great mood, laughing and conversing my my fellow work-er out-ers. As I left, I made the conscious decision to continuously focus on the task at hand. It wasn’t a one time decision. The thoughts and worry tried to creep back in and I found I had to remind myself every few minutes. And then, suddenly, a few hours later as I was about my daily duties, I realized that not only had I not needed to remind myself to be in the present for quite some time, I had completely pushed the meeting out of my head. I was, finally, fully engaged in my present moment.
I have no doubt that I will be talking more about this over the course of The Positive Project as it is still something that I am working on. But having seen the benefits of being “in the moment,” I am committed to stop myself from throwing away so many of my gifts.