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How To Live In The Moment (When It’s The Last Place You Want To Be)

“Love the moment and the energy of the moment will spread beyond all boundaries.”  –  Corita Kent

The ability to stay in the moment is a goal that many of us have.  It’s distressing to think that our lives are passing us by without us noticing.  We only get a short amount of time here on Earth and each moment that passes is gone forever.

Even though we still “tune out” when our moments are pleasant, it’s easier to stay in the moment when you are enjoying it or you have “positive” emotions.  But what about when the moment you are having is filled with “negative” emotions?  Even though these moments aren’t pleasant they are still worthy of our attention – if for no other reason than you will never have them again.  Your experience in life is filled with both positive emotions and negative emotions, and ultimately staying in the moment for both will help you lead a fuller life.

Here’s how you can live in the moment… when it’s the last place you want to be.

Life Is Joy…And Pain

Being mindful of the moment involves accepting that all of your moments are not pleasant.  If you only want to be present in the enjoyable moments and not in the difficult ones, than ultimately, you’re missing half of your life.  And living in the moment means being present for all of it.

Avoiding the painful moments is like trying to convince yourself that the sun always shines and night never comes.  If we want to live a full day, we have to accept both light and darkness.  It may not seem like it at the time, but your most painful moments have a purpose.  Missing out on a painful moment is still missing a moment, even though you would rather not deal with it.

Gifts Come From Your Painful Experiences

If you learn to stay in the moment even when it’s painful, you will be able to receive the gifts your pain brings you.  For instance, if you are bored you can either distract yourself by tuning out or you can be creative in finding something engaging to do.  So, boredom gives you creativity and problem solving, but if you can’t stay with that boredom, all you get is escape.

Likewise, anger gives you the desire to take action (notice, I did not say “revenge”) and sadness gives you the desire to reflect.  These “negative” emotions, while still unpleasant, drive you to do certain things that you need to do.  But you have to stay with them, even when you don’t want to.

You Can Only Receive Your Gifts When You Receive The Moment

Escaping the moment is tempting when it feels unpleasant – there are so many ways you can distract yourself.  But, in addition to not receiving the gifts of the moment, you also end us escaping from a good portion of your life.  No matter if the moment you are having right now is pleasant or unpleasant it is still YOUR EXPERIENCE.  And choosing not to live it, is throwing away a part of your existence.  Don’t escape from your moments – live them!  And you will find that you have the strength to experience all of them, not only the enjoyable ones.

How do you stay in the moment when the moment is challenging?  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.


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22 Comments

  1. Wow. You nailed it with this one. I love this quote…
    “Avoiding the painful moments is like trying to convince yourself that the sun always shines and night never comes.”

    Life is much easier when you realize every moment is equally important. Some moments are enjoyable during them, and some are enjoyable after battling through them. Either way, it is a moment in life, something we all take for granted.

    Great work.

    Peter Normandia’s last blog post..Five Tips to Battle Against Complacency

  2. Hi Amanda,

    This was a thought-provoking post.

    In the past, during a ‘negative’ moment I would tell myself “this too shall pass” and thus deny the moment of its power.

    Now I take a deep breath, and allow myself to experience the full extent of the disturbing emotion, whether it’s anger or worry or doubt. I find that once I do that, I am not afraid of the emotion. It becomes a familiar friend, a feeling that is very much part of who I am, and I don’t want to run away from the moment anymore.

    Daphne’s last blog post..How Does Your Life Script Read?

  3. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Peter – That’s right, sometimes we only enjoy our moments after having gone through them because we see what we learned from them.

    Ari – Your welcome! and I agree.

    Daphne – I agree. Feeling your emotions does make them more “familiar.” I like the way you said that.

  4. Hi Amanda

    I like the way you have approached the issue of “being present” and also the way you have dealt with the duality of life. And I especially like that you have combined the two!

    Good often stems from difficulties and perhaps if we are unwilling to fully face those difficulties we will never get to the good. We will never reach fulfilment.

    Thank you for a great post,
    Juliet

    LifeMadeGreat – Juliet’s last blog post..Would You Choose To Be Immortal?

  5. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Juliet – Thanks. Duality is difficult to get a handle on, and trying to stay present in the midst of it even more so. 🙂

  6. Hi Amanda
    For me be in the moment is about me living in the present. I am free from my past’s luggage and free from my worries of the future. To be truly present; it involved me to have total trusted in myself; trust that what happen in the past does not determent my futures. Also, trust myself to have the wisdom to handle what ever the future brings. I guest to be in the moment, it all comes down to TRUST.

    Giovanna Garcia
    Imperfect Action is better than No Action

    Giovanna Garcia’s last blog post..10 Best Action Quotes that will get you moving!

  7. Amanda,
    I cannot agree with you more! The best things in my life have come from living through the hardest times and not denying them – I always approach every pain in life from the perspective of – “What will THIS teach me ?” – and it works every single time !
    Your post really inspires a person to hang in there!

    Maya’s last blog post..Preparing to Believe in Yourself: The Science of Ditchiness

  8. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Giovanna – Yes! Self-trust is where all good things start. If only more people would trust themselves! Thanks for the comment!

    Maya – Thanks for the comment! Absolutely, if you can ask yourself that question then there are no wasted moments – painful or otherwise. 🙂

  9. Hi Amanda, I absolutely agree with the thought: gifts come from your painful experiences. I take an example about success. I believe that success represents 1% of our work which results from the 99% that is called failure.
    So there is always something beautiful in every failure, every bad thing or every pain we get. Just enjoy the process of live.
    Great article here, Amanda. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Christopher – Not wacky at all. I enjoy Dr. Weil and I have recently started practicing some breathing exercises (sounds weird to say you have to practice breathing 😉 ). Thanks for passing this along! and thank you for the comment.

    Arswino – I agree, failure always contributes to our successes!

  11. Amanda. Breathing works for me! Consciously bringing my attention to my breathe .. three times in and three times out is usually enough. The HUGE advantage is that we are always breathing, we do it every where and every moment so it’s a great resource that’s always available.

    Sometimes three times isn’t enough and I need to keep it up. Like when I’m sitting in the dentist chair, for example! That’s a real challenge to enjoy! Ian

  12. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Ian – I was just at the dentist, and I had to focus on my breathing too! I was getting too tense 😉

  13. Love this post Amanda, acknowledging both pain and joy is important and i like this You Can Only Receive Your Gifts When You Receive The Moment

    Suzie Cheel’s last blog post..The Possibility Conversation

  14. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Suzie – Thanks for the comment! Yes, both pain and joy give us important things.

  15. Wonderful post! Too often we hold high hopes for the past and regrets for the future. I would like to say that I always embrace each moment but… It is the melding of the good and the bad that has made us what we are reminding me of the old saying. “you can’t feel better if you’ve never been sick”.

    Roger’s last blog post..Nature’s Wonder

  16. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Roger – That is a good saying, and really makes you understand what being present in both comfortable and uncomfortable moments really means. 🙂

  17. Joy & Sadness are extremities of emotions. Certainly when one can derive a lot from happiness, there is a lot more than can be derived from the other end of the spectrum too. I particularly try to pen down my emotions when I’m sad, because the haziness around things is removed and a lot of truth emanates.

    … oh & by the way, thank you for using my photograph along with this wonderful post 🙂

    Sudhamshu’s last blog post..ISRO – Space Technology for the Poor

  18. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Sudhamshu – Thanks for your comment! Writing down the way you feel can help greatly in understanding the gifts we are being given in any given moment. Also, thank you for making your photograph available to use! I love it! I was happy to combine it with this post.

  19. Martin Martin

    Great posts here from i guess a wonderful women. Ive been reading books from dr wayne w. Dyer and he is on the same lenght as you guys. My advice: change your thoughts, change your life. Xxx

  20. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Martin – Glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks 🙂

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