Why is living in the moment so difficult?

in the moment

Its amazing to me how the entire animal kingdom can live in the moment, following their instincts.   If they are not searching for their next meal, they are basking in the sun, drifting, or observing what is around them – and they don’t feel guilty or ashamed for it.  They spend their whole life doing what’s in front of them.  Even when they are in flight or fight mode, it is a feeling that comes spontaneously and leaves when the danger is no longer near.

Why is this so hard for the human species to live in the moment?

Granted, we are the most complex species, and I love that we can use our brains for so many intricate details.  We have the ability to rationalize and think ideas through before acting, which is very beneficial at times.  I don’t know if it is true that we only use 10% of our brain, but I do feel us humans could do more with our brains than what is intended. This is only based on my experience, and those that I have witnessed, but it appears as though a good % of our brain is put towards worry of tomorrow, regrets of the past, and my favorite, “what’s on t.v. tonight?” curiosity.

My twelve step program tells me all I have is today.  We don’t regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.  What that tells me is that I can learn from my mistakes so I do not repeat them, but I don’t spend my day regretting what I should have done with my life.  I also know that by worrying about tomorrow, I am in essence “future tripping”.  It creates fears of what if’s, what am I gonna do’s, and how will I’s, that consume my whole day so nothing else is acknowledged or appreciated.

Perhaps the master-minds of today succeed with this “one day at a time” motto.  They may not even know that they are using it because it is a part of their mindset.  A little worry is good because it pushes us to perform better, setting goals along the way.  Perhaps these successors know, naturally, how to push through their fear so they accomplish their goals faster.

For me, I have to practice living in the moment.  I have lived in fear all my life.  I have spent a lot of time trying to prove myself to people.  I have spent a lot of time believing I am not good enough.  I have spent a lot of time wondering what my life purpose is.  All this keeps me from appreciating what is in front of me.

So I practice, practice, practice.

Today I had to practice some more.  I went for a walk down by the creek.   I had a couple of hours to kill and the weather was amazing!  I found myself wanting to look at the time, but I trekked on.  I finally stopped at the edge of the water on a tree stump to eat my orange (oh, yes, this is a blog about food isn’t it? well, I was happy I remembered a healthy snack).

I was tempted again to look at my phone for the time.  Forcing myself to look out at the creek, I observed a duck swimming in the water.  He was coming closer to me, possibly hoping for some bread.  He didn’t like my orange. 

This is where the magic happened.  I began experiencing the moment.  I heard the sound of the rushing water hitting the rocks.  I heard the singing, the fluttering, and the chirping.   I noticed more ducks.

What amazed me is that these little ducks didn’t have a care in the world.  Well, except the possibility of getting some bread.  But they were in the moment.  They have adapted to learn that when someone comes to the edge of the creek with something in their hand, a morsel might come their way.  Then, they go back to dipping their head in the water foraging for bugs or algae.  This particular duck dipped his head a few times and then floated downstream.

floating down the river

And I was able to stay in the moment.

edge of the creek

beautiful space

I found another spot by the creek and observed more ducks

more ducks

I began to talk to them

talking to the ducks

I realized that I truly take beauty for granted.  Even when I believe I am observant, I miss out on so many little moments in the day.

ducks in a row

Heading down the trail, I kept listening to the bugs and the birds, taking pictures along the way

more creek

observing the trees

butterfly

I realize that I am very lucky to be able to take advantage of these little moments.  I should set aside more time for them.  I am still trying to figure out what my life purpose is; meanwhile, I will try to be like the rest of the animal kingdom and do what is in front of me on a day to day basis, without any judgement or remorse.

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4 thoughts on “Why is living in the moment so difficult?

  1. This is one of the reasons I love having backyard chickens….it is hard not to be present when you are with them. They are very calming and just interesting and funny enough to pull me into the moment, without overhwhelming me to distraction =)

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