By Sarah Zitin

As I ponder the New Year, what feels the most real and awake is presence, itself. Particularly in the past two years, when life has been hectic, uncertain, scary and overwhelming, many of us have been focused on the future because the present has been so uncomfortable. And now we’re in the future, and it’s still
uncomfortable. You see where this is going?

When I find myself thinking about the past or worrying about the future, I catch myself and mindfully bring myself back to the present moment. My brain will try to manipulate me into thinking things that don’t exist or simply aren’t true. Why do we do this to ourselves? Mind-(f******) ourselves is a habit we all learned from everyone around us; all it accomplishes is misery and fear.

We’re taught to achieve goals, get good grades, win, win, win and more annoying epithets that knock the heck out of us! We can’t go back and fix anything or even make it better. We also can’t predict the future, so why spend time thinking about what hasn’t happened yet?

I’ve learned that the more pressure I put on myself to achieve, the more anxious and nervous I become and it’s just not fun. I see most people around me doing the same thing. We sit around wondering why we feel unfulfilled, empty, alone or disconnected.

Stay present! It’s not an easy task, but doable if you mindfully practice it. The “now” is all we have… we may not have a then or tomorrow. There are so many profound and beautiful things to engage with in the now – nature, in all its glory, animals who have the freedom to roam, the ocean in its magnificence, the breathtaking mountains above – you get the picture.

If I examine when I’m the most happy, it’s when I’m simply “being.” Without expectations, desires, goals and visions. Just being in the present allows us to see what we need in the moment, and to enjoy that moment. Isn’t it shocking to realize how difficult that is for us monkey-brained humans? Round and round we go like a gerbil in a cage, instead of just being here now.

I challenge all of us to make a daily practice of being mindful, being “now!”

“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.”

Abraham Maslow

“If you were conscious, that is to say totally present in the Now, all negativity would dissolve almost instantly. It could not survive in your presence.”

Eckhart Tolle

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.”

Alice Morse Earle

Happy, Healthy and Abundant New Year to the “gift” that is You!