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Being Present

Excerpt from Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging by Connie Mason Michaelis

There is a lot written today about being present. It can be a profound philosophical concept or just a cliché. If you’re not a monk living in the wilderness, how do you actually live in the present? We can attain much more happiness in our lives if we stay out of the past and the future and live in the now. We may habitually spend time thinking about the failures of yesterdays, and certainly, we spend time anticipating the future. Regret (yesterday) and worry (tomorrow) are not our friends. Louise Thompson in her blog says, “Being present is having my mind completely engaged and appreciatively connecting with wherever my body is at that point, and not trying to be thinking about whatever I want to do NEXT but be fully in the NOW of what’s going on IN THAT MOMENT.”

As we grow older, I think this concept is vitally important. It has a very practical application. How many falls could be avoided if we were living in the present? Slowing down and thinking, “I am going down the stairs, and I need to pay attention to these stairs and my feet right now.” It’s possible to avoid a terrible accident. How many items that are lost could be found if we were living in the present? When I take my glasses off to do another task, I have no idea where I left them because I was off in my mind to the new task! So many times, we meet someone new and want to remember them. They say their name, and we are so busy getting ready to tell our name, we never hear it. It’s not that our memory is failing; we weren’t present when they spoke to us. Part of living in the moment is just slowing down, and that’s a positive attribute of living longer. The old adage to “stop and smell the roses” is good advice; beyond enjoying the beauty of our lives, it could save us a great deal of frustration.

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