Written By: Katie Schipper
Enjoying the Gifts of Today by Living in the Moment
Nothing is More Important Than Living in the Moment
The intensity with which we naturally think about the future is so strong that, more often than not, we’re not living in the moment. Instead, we’re completely missing out on the only thing that really exists, the exact moment that we’re in.
A whole lot is lost by focusing on the future and outcomes – it causes, and in turn is caused by, anxiety, fear, and worry. Thoughts about the future are valuable, yes, but they should NEVER come at the expense of the present moment. Learning to be mindful of what’s right in front of us is one of the gifts of being in recovery. It’s not always easy to be mindful, but conceptually speaking, it’s pretty simple. Not to mention, there are endless reasons why it’s worth exploring.
Living for Today Requires Practicing Mindfulness
The absolute and unavoidable reality for every person is that someday they’ll take their final breath. Someday they’ll die. The majority of us have knowledge of, or say in, when that day’s going to come. You can plan your future around this day. You can plan your future out day-by-day, week-by-week, even year-by-year. You can plan what you want to be doing years from now. You can do plan to an obsessive degree, but in the end, you may never see the day when your planning comes to fruition.
So, the real why of practicing mindfulness and living in today is that we have no way of knowing which day will be our last. If all our days are spent worrying about the future, do we have any room left for joy? Do we have any room left for actually living?
Now, that doesn’t mean we have to float around with no direction, or become a monk, or live outside of society, though we can do all of these if we want to. It means a very radical shift in thinking. After all we’re programmed to plan, think, and worry about the future. It seems to be written in our DNA. But thoughts of the future don’t have to control us.
Mindfulness takes on a stronger meaning for addicts and alcoholics because our sobriety begins over each morning when we wake up. Our sobriety is contingent upon our action that day. It doesn’t matter what we say we’ll do in the future, and the past doesn’t guarantee that we’ll stay sober for today. Nope, we have only this exact moment to choose not to pick up a drink or get high. We learn that living in the moment, and applying the knowledge we gain in recovery, helps us stay sober. More importantly, it helps us enjoy the gifts of today!
How to Practice Living in the Moment and Enjoying the Gifts of Today
Mindfulness and living for today are simple concepts. Remember though, simple and easy aren’t the same thing! It’s simple enough for a child, but the actual practice takes time, maybe even a lifetime, to really learn.
A good place to start in any mindfulness practice is to focus on your individual breaths. From there, notice the things around you. What sounds do you hear? What’s under your feet or in your hands? What can you see directly in your vision? What do you smell? Try to notice these basic senses without thinking about your to do list, what’s for dinner, or an argument you had. Try to notice what’s right in front of you for sixty seconds.
Mindfulness is a practice that helps you enjoy the gifts of today. Knowing that all we have is now sets us free to live fully in the only moment that’s real – this moment.