The Never-ending Comfort of Now

July 30th, 2019 by Kelly Kienzle

We live so much of our lives in the past or in the future. As leaders, as colleagues, as parents, as friends, we are constantly analyzing and replaying events from the past hour, the past week or the past year.  We also spend large amounts of time in the future.  We wonder, worry and try to anticipate what will happen at our next meeting, our next performance review or our next phase in life.  How much of your day do you spend considering the past or the future? 

The Limited Usefulness of Thinking About the Past and the Future

Thinking about the past and the future has limited usefulness. How helpful is it for us to analyze the past?  One rule of thumb is: Analyze the past incident long enough to learn at least one thing from it.  Then move on.  Take your new one piece of knowledge and release the rest. 

What about the future? How much time should we spend thinking about what’s next?  Again the answer here is: Not much.  Put a plan in place to achieve what others are depending on you for or what you have promised yourself:  a plan for the meeting you have called, a plan for buying the groceries your family is depending on you for, or a plan for learning that new skill for your work.  Then move on.  

But we know most of this. Yet we still ruminate on the past and worry about the future.  Instead, we must replace those ruminations and worries with something else.  And that something is the Now.

The Comforting Presence of Now

The Now is the moment right now. The moment you are reading these words. And now these words.  The Now is this present moment when you notice what is good about your life.  The Now is noticing even the smallest experience: how your clothes feel soft against your skin right now; how your house is sturdily protecting you against the rain right now; how your brain feels quiet right now while observing these objects.

Noticing the Now

The beauty of Now is its never-ending comfort. There is always a Now.  And in this privileged world that most of us live in, where our basic needs are met every single day (food, water and shelter), we can always find some form of comfort in the Now.

How about that boring meeting that you’ve been volun-told to attend? What is there to appreciate about the Now of that meeting?

Perhaps it is that you work in a place that can afford this comfortable chair you’re sitting in right now. Or maybe that you can feel cool, air-conditioned air on your skin right now. Or perhaps the Now that you can appreciate is that you are seen as valuable enough by someone else to be brought here?  

Recently, I have been using the comfort of Now to pull myself through a few very heavy work weeks before I leave for vacation. I am feeling overwhelmed sometimes at the volume of work and number of meetings I must attend.

So I have been trying to stop and appreciate the Now multiple times through the day.  And the Now has never let me down.  It is always there.  And the Now has always given me some kind of comfort. 

Above all, the Now allows me to take a break from thinking about the past or thinking about the future.  And that is a relief I can appreciate right Now.

What about you? What is the comfort you feel in your Now right now?  How many times today can you appreciate the comfort of Now?

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