Living in the Moment

I am the face of NOT living in the moment. I’m always thinking about the future, trying to learn from the past, and scrambling to complete things in the present. The fact of the matter is is that each day, each moment that we have is unique and special and we will NEVER get it back. Because of this, I’ve been much more intentional about how I spend my time, who I spend it with, and making sure that I handle business at home first and then commit myself to creating experiences, in the moment, that will help shape the person that I am supposed to become. It’s hard to do this. Especially when you have the pressures of life knocking at your door every day. So, I have created a few tips that I use of make sure that, each day, I am living in the moment.

1.  Every day, start up a conversation with a stranger. It sounds crazy and frankly, it can make an introvert like me nervous as hell but I think this is a good way to live in the moment by engaging with those in your space. Even if its just a brief hi, how are you with a genuine smile, engaging with those near you in an authentic, natural way is a great tactic for living in the moment. Besides, you never know who you will meet!

2.  Be intentional but not rigid. Being intentional is very important for me. I am a compulsive goal setter and I supplement those goals with to-do lists that are designed to draw me closer to my goal. But I think its really important to not be inflexible. I think staying resolute, hard-working and determined are important but also remaining open to possibilities and a change in plans is also crucial.

3. Be generous. I am learning that there is no down side to having a generous spirit. Helping people, in ways that are appropriate and genuine, offering advice, showing up, being available, these are all traits that, I feel, are returned to you ten-fold. Now generous does not equate to naive but living with a gracious spirit is a wonderful way to live in the moment.

4. Ditch perfection. I used to be so obsessed with perfection that nothing ever got done! Now I’m over it. I just do the best that I can do, make sure it adheres to the quality standards that I have devised for myself, and then I move on!

5. Make time for YOU. Self-care is crucial and critical. Not just exercise and proper diet but monitoring the stories that we tell ourselves. If you want to achieve greatness, you need to take care of you first. Although our days are busy and we want to take care of everyone else, take at least 30 minutes to give yourself a pedicure, meditate, drink a glass of wine — take time each day to do something that gets you off, that tells you that you love you. Build a relationship everyday with yourself!

6. Journal. This is something that I admittedly, have just started doing again. I recently went back home to Louisiana and I found my journals from back when I was a teenager. I really valued reading my thoughts and feelings at that time in my life. Journaling is a great way to chronicle moments in your life. And its also fun to revisit journals at a later time.

The above YouTube is a video from one of my all time favorite female business owners, and a friend in my head, Marie Forleo. Above, she and actor John Pais share a few tips for living in the moment.  Its not easy but I promise, its worth it!

 

 

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FINDING A “HOME” AWAY FROM “HOME”

(The above picture is our family dog Simba)

I think, at some level, I’ve always wanted to be a hyphenate; to become someone who is skillful at many things. I’d like to experience several re-births over the course of my professional life. I’d prefer to not be known for just one thing. Now, I think of myself as a writer-entrepreneur.

One part of this mashup is inherently less social than the other. But it’s nonetheless important to find a place, a home, a method that facilitates my best work in both. From a literary perspective, all of the greats have theirs. Poets and Writers lists a few:

“Conrad Aiken worked at a refectory table in the dining room; Robert Graves wrote in a room furnished only with objects made by hand. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up; D. H. Lawrence under a tree. William Maxwell preferred “small messy rooms that don’t look out on anything interesting.” Katherine Anne Porter said she got her writing done in the country, where she lived like a hermit. Ben Franklin wrote in the bathtub, Jane Austen amid family life, Marcel Proust in the confines of his bed. Balzac ate an enormous meal at five in the evening, slept till midnight, then got up and wrote at a small desk in his room for sixteen hours straight, fueled by endless cups of coffee. Toni Morrison found refuge in a motel room when her children were small; E. B. White sought it in a cabin on the shore. Due to her problem back, Penelope Lively works in an armchair, with an “ancient electronic typewriter” on her lap, while A. L. Kennedy finds comfort in a “monster black chair” in a room “the color of blood.”

When I’m down South, I’ve found I do my best work in a mostly quiet, spare room, some music (think Nina Simone) and some wine. It helps root me; I feel at ease. I think its necessary to find your “place” your home away from home. Or, if in your home, a place where you feel comfortable and that aids in the creation of your best work. In New York, where I currently live, my preferred work environment varies. In my apartment, I prefer to work in bed with no noise.

I recently finished Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Cain mentions a psychological term called the “sweet spot,” the place where you are optimally stimulated. This place could be a park, a coffee shop, a book store, etc. Your sweet spot may only keep you creatively or professionally fecund at certain points of the day but her larger point is a good one. By finding your sweet spot(s) you are able to “increase satisfaction in every arena of your life.” What’s your place? Your sweet spot?