31 October 2016

In recent weeks I am becoming more and more aware of how impatient I am with life, and when reflecting back I can see I have been for the majority of it! If you’re someone with big dreams and visions, it can be hard sometimes to not compare yourself with others. ‘Well he’s there, why aren’t I?’ It's something I used to find myself saying nearly every day. Comparison and jealousy are things that can really ruin our motivation, and even our well being.

Being a musician, back when I wanted to be ‘the worlds biggest star’, I repeatedly found myself in a foul, angry and jealous mood. Constantly spewing jealousy about the whereabouts of another band or artist. Things such as ‘they’re only where they are because they come from a rich family’ or other sayings would be part of my daily routine. I was unable to accept where I was. Always wanting to be in the future, always wanted to be doing something else, because I some how thought that the future was going to be such a better place!
Except the grass was never greener.

In a bid to achieve the stardom I craved so much, I travelled far and wide, because everywhere else would have been ‘the place to be’, spending all my money and trying so hard to get the dream. But in every place I went to, I was even more unhappy than when I was at home. When I was away from home, I started to realise that where I lived and performed wasn’t that bad, so I’d spend more money and travel home, only to find that I wasn’t happy again because I would have found a new place to be. 

For a long, long time, I couldn’t work out why I was so unhappy.
I blamed myself for being so unlucky. I was nowhere. At 19 years old, I considered myself a failure. At 15, I thought I was wasting my life! I was always so frustrated with everything, for not getting what I wanted. But then I realised why I was so unhappy.

I wasn’t actually ever living in the moment!

There are a lot of misconceptions about what ‘living in the moment is’.
Some think it is about making random split second decisions, like I thought it was. It is so much more than this! Living in the moment, or the now, means to truly be at peace with whatever you are doing right at this moment. Notice your thought patterns whilst reading this. Notice where your mind is taking you. To the past? was there something you could have handled differently that you regret? was there something that you wished had or hadn’t happened, because it would have made your life better in some way? or is it taking you to the future? Is there some other place you wish to be right now? some where busier, more exciting? If your mind is taking you on a walk, just gently bring it back to what you are doing now. Sometimes It can be extremely hard to do so, but with practice you can make the gap between your thoughts longer, and therefore, you can be more present! There are a number of ways to do this:

1. Focus on your breathing.
 Turn your focus towards your breath and start to notice how you are breathing. Don’t try to change it, just notice. Maybe switch your focus point to wherever it is easiest for you to notice, such as the nostrils, chest or the rise and fall of the stomach.

2. Notice the sounds and sights around you in detail 
Really take in your surroundings. Can you hear the wind through the trees in the distance? can you notice the detail of the object closest to you by truly looking? turn off any distractions, the TV, music, and just listen. Can you go further? can you notice the dead silence that’s behind the sounds?

3. Be aware of where your body meets the surface 
Weather you are sat on a chair, your bed, the floor. Notice where every part of your body meets the ground. By doing this, you feel more grounded in where you are and don’t fly away with the thoughts of your mind as easy.

 Once you get into the regular practice of these grounding tips, you can sometimes find yourself feeling a sense of euphoria, as if a heavy weight has been lifted from your shoulders.
It’s an awesome feeling!

If you really think about it, we only ever have this moment. We need to make it the best one we can! Whilst we can plan for the future, we need to maintain a sense of practicality about what we’re planning. As long as we don’t live in our plans for the future, we can begin to feel the true happiness of just being! Losing the guilt of feeling we should be somewhere else, because essentially, you are always where you are supposed to be!

Although, It’s not something you realise and then all the negative thoughts leave you forever. I still struggle with it now! You are always going to have times where your mind over powers you. It’s natural. But when you feel the overwhelming negativity returning, the tips mentioned above can really help return yourself to the now.

So I guess to answer the question ‘how soon is now?’.
Well, it’s as soon as you want it to be!

Take good care of yourselves.

We'd love to know...
Are there things you practice in life to stay happy and empowered?
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Written by Harry Westall
for Daily Focal

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