by Nicole Serafin, age 40, Tintenbar, NSW
Living a day at a time and being in the moment of that day always felt like an art – an art I was never able to conquer.
Why is it that we are unable to simply be where it is that we are at? Why are we always looking ahead to what needs to be done next, or where we should be next, rather than being in the present? There are always things to be done and places to be. Could it be that the things we do could be done efficiently and clearly if we simply focussed on what we were doing in the moment we were doing them, before moving on to what was needed next?
I have felt the push to be somewhere, to get something done so as to move on to what is next, never stopping to feel what it was that I was actually doing. I had been caught up in doing, being in life in overdrive, and often on automatic pilot.
Living like this made me very impatient; never still long enough to enjoy what I was doing or who I was with. I always had in the back of my mind whatever was next. My days were exhausting as I used up most of my energy getting to somewhere before I had even left the place I was at.
Have you ever had that feeling of being ahead of yourself? Have you ever taken a glass out of a cupboard but already been one step towards the fridge to fill it? Or driven off from home not able to remember if you had closed and locked the front door?
I began to stop and wonder why it was that I could get to work and not even remember driving past the usual landmarks that were on my way. It amazed me how much I missed or did not remember because I was not truly present in a moment to begin with. I began to stop and take note of what it was that I was actually doing, and how I was doing it. I stopped and took the time to feel the simple things, like how fast I turned the tap on or how I prepared things. It began to make a huge difference in my day and how I was left at the end of it.
Gradually I could recall that yes, I had locked the front door when I left the house and no, the iron was not on. I could recall this because I was taking the time to be present in each moment as I was doing things. I began to bring my focus to other areas of my day and gradually life became not so crazy and hectic. I actually enjoyed whatever it was I was doing in the moment and took that feeling with me to what was needed in the next moment, and so on.
I now have energy left at the end of my day. I no longer live in the anticipation of where I should be next or what needs to be done next. I am no longer constantly in my head trying to remember ‘did I do that or not?’ These simple choices have changed my life in many different areas and continue to do so. The way that I choose to live and be with me brings changes to not only myself, but also to everything and everyone around me.
I now wake in the mornings without the rush of what needs to be done but rather with me, simply doing what needs to be done – one thing at a time. I get to work and live my day in the same easiness that I got up in, rather than in the overwhelm and raciness. I now have the space to be able to get everything plus more done, not only in the mornings, but also throughout the day. I find I am able to enjoy my family and children completely, being able to stop and be with them. There is a feeling of contentment from everyone.
I still fall into the trap of my past ways (life tends to support that). I notice that if I go into the doing and overwhelm of life there is no longer a flow and my day becomes quite challenging – challenging because I am trying to do ahead of myself, rather than to just be and do what is needed… and move on to the next thing from that. I know I can continue to make choices to be with myself in all that I do. The true vitality and enjoyment this presence brings me, and the ripple effect it has on the people around me, is well worth it.
590 thoughts on “The Anticipation of What is Next”
Always a supportive read, I particularly noticed your line about how being present and with yourself meant you take that same enjoyment and presence to each new task, and at the end of the day you have energy left. It seems like a harmless thing doesn’t it, to be in anticipation of what is next, yet I know from my own life not being present really raises stress levels, and do this over time and it can lead to health issues from the pressure constantly placed on the body (nervous system, etc) to be ahead of itself. I’m still working on being present, I can see some changes since my last read but also feel encouraged to keep going – thank you Nicole.
It’s interesting what you say about life tending to support this need to look outside of ourselves rather than just being with ourselves. I wonder why there seems to be a constant pull to look outward rather than within?
It felt very lovely to read this, following and clocking each word instead of scanning along the sentences, and in that I could feel the settlement in the body that I didn’t have to know or come up with what is next and how I am going to do it. Trying to be in control thinking ahead of myself really does put me out of control.
It’s a topic that pretty much everyone could relate to. What I have really noticed is when I am present with myself it’s a joy to be with me, if the rush comes in I’ve lost that connection to me and getting things done becomes the focus – and life feels pretty drab without that connection to the spark within.
That ‘ripple effect’ or reflection is our greatest form of communication, so as you have shared Nicole our ability to be in the moment has to be a reflection of the energy we are aligned to, then that naturally becomes what we reflect to others.
To enjoy every move we do is the key to being present and this inevitably asks us to deeply care for our bodies so that we have a body that feels good to be in. When we do not feel comfortable in our own body we will never find true settlement within ourself.
When we stop being ruled by the clock we make space to be who we are.
“Living like this made me very impatient; never still long enough to enjoy what I was doing or who I was with”. This is a great point and shows one of the many harms that occur by not being present. We really do not get to enjoy what we are feeling or doing if we are constantly chasing the what’s next.
I agree with you Fiona, as I can feel there is a part of me that wants to act in a way that is totally out of control, it feels as though part of me is being boxed into a corner and is trying to escape in whatever way I can.
I have more energy at the end of every day, simply through paying more attention to everything: what and how I feel, what’s going on around me. We can bring a big focus to things like working less and wanting to get more sleep, and having these things in balance are vital to our wellbeing too – but so is the care and presence that we bring to each moment.
Why is it that we are unable to simply be where it is that we are at?’ Because, we are not settled in our own body, that is where we are at. Because we are un-settled we want something different from what the body is offering.
Eduardo what you have written makes sense to me, I can definitely feel this un-settlement and then wanting to distract myself from the feeling by doing something else rather than just allowing whatever is there to present itself. If we all feel this un-settlement it makes sense that we use a myriad of different things to distract us.
To be right in the moment means to feel everything there is and that seems to be sometime a challenge so that it would be easier for most of us to be not present. To discover that being present is a wonderful way to be not so exhausted – as you so beautiful describe in you honest blog Nicole – people can not but chose to be present form the moment they wake up in the morning.
It is exhausting if we are racing ahead focusing on what needs to be done rather than in the quality of the moment, anxiety about what might happen is even more debilitating and amplifies the exhaustion.
Funny how we exhaust ourselves trying to be somewhere else other than in the present moment which is ridiculous because the only place we can be is in the present.
“I actually enjoyed whatever it was I was doing in the moment and took that feeling with me to what was needed in the next moment, and so on.” Life and each task is a celebration of completing in a quality you can feel you are completing it in. In other words it is a confirmation that you are other worldly in how you do things and not held down in just doing it.
I stood in a long supermarket queue behind a young woman with a new born baby held in a papoose. She seemed calm and completely at one with herself. We spoke and I asked her if the baby was her first, she said no, her sixth! I was amazed, here was a woman completely at one with herself, settled, in the moment with no hint of rush or anxiety. She left a lasting impression of what is possible when we have deep inner connection.
Having space and time to be with myself, made me aware of areas of self neglect. I turned my attention to lovingly correct these and put into place those small but important things that would support me even more. The effect has been amazing.
In the past two weeks, unusually I had space to play with. The one thing I didn’t do was fill it up in order to be seen to be doing things or feel righteous. Instead, I allowed each day to unfold in its own way, including feeling what happens when we don’t have very much to do! I used the space purposefully. I knew a major dental procedure was imminent and chose to rest my body, eat with care, prepare food to support the body post procedure, walk and swim everyday. Not anticipating, simply preparing for what is to come.
Recently I had a busy day and a late night at work. I had the option to eat dinner late OR make something in the 30 minute gap I had at home. I managed to prep,cook, eat and clean up all in that time (I cook from scratch). The energetic whirlwind I was in felt dreadful and you could feel it invading the space that me and my flatmate share. And as I was cooking it felt awful to have brought this into the flat. When we rush it does impact others.
Presence is a beautiful gift we give to ourselves, and our expression is so different, be that speaking or moving when we are fully present in our bodies with everything we do because our expression is true.
A great blog Nicole, I find I am so often in my head, getting a head of my self leaves me feeling anxious, when I am present in my body with that I am doing in the moment life has a flow and an ease about it.
What I am learning is I don’t have to know or plan what is next and how that is going to look, and that trying to have control was what was causing much anxiety and frustration, and I am totally with you how an old way creeps back in, but having an experience, or even just a flavor of effortless flow is a great marker that lets me know how life could potentially roll in a totally different way.
This is a great reminder. I used to catch myself sometimes stretching my arm out well before I was close enough to the door that I was going to open. I haven’t noticed this lately – whether that is because I don’t do that any more, or I am just not present. Something I am going to play with today.
So helpful to read this today, this is a big one for me at the moment. I have been in a stressful long term situation and I’ve been seeing myself over time incrementally losing touch with each moment until I’m at the place where like you describe I’m now unaware of moments I have just passed through and whether or not I turned off the iron. Reading through the changes you made and how it affected your day and wellbeing was super supportive “I get to work and live my day in the same easiness that I got up in, rather than in the overwhelm and raciness.” I love that everything you have shared is so relatable, practical and inspiring.
This is the beauty of sharing. Through these blogs each day we’re given exactly what we need or confirm where we are. Where you are now, I’ve also been and having awareness of this a great first step. I’ve found waking up early, having solid and loving morning routines and order in place are the foundation that builds settlement within. Start the day in the way you want to complete it.
The ripple effect when we connect to our truth.. We see who we are and can observe the world so much better. Thank you for this writing.
Being with oneself is a beautiful moving art, and when moving in this way, totally present in one’s body, it is a powerful reflection for others.
It is the quality of the present moment that founds the next so whenever we get ahead of ourselves or live in the past the integrity of that quality is automatically lost.
Staying with us in each moment is indeed an art, and when we do it we find we have more space for life and us in it.
Life actively encourages us to jump from one thing to the next and in this we ignore the quality we’re in with ourselves in how we are in that thing we do and we end up with a body that is tired, racy, stressed and at the mercy of life. When we come back to living life so we’re present in all we do, then we meet life from ourselves and life no longer does us, and all experience the grace and joy of us being us in life.
Recently I have noticed at work when I start worrying about getting my task done in the allotted time provided for that job I begin to experience all kinds of hiccups in the process, I start forgetting things, needing to go back and forth to my tool box and the parts/supplies room more than usual and run into issues that slow me down. Comparatively, when I simply focus on what I am doing in that moment, stay connected to how my body feels in that action, and pause momentarily to feel what is needed, things flow smoothly, the job gets done without hassle, and there is a feeling that I am moving with time, not against it.
It’s very much an art form learning to live only in this moment and to not bring our fears or trepidations from the past or our expectations for the future, but to instead learn to live with today as a fresh canvas and rather than predict or control or manipulate what is ahead… be ready for anything.
I was always on automatic pilot, forward pilot and rush pilot, no wonder I was always feeing tired and drained! These days I no longer rush or push forward, as I feel so much more in my body and aware of my body when I move. The old habits do try and sneak back in, which is to check out, but now I always notice and make amends.
Love this sharing as it invites me to be more aware of each step that I make, every single thing that I touch…and makes me realize how many things I take for granted along my day. Daily activities such as making my bed or comb my hair can be a beautiful and a very enjoyable experience if I’m present. Thank you Nicole.
To be aware of every single thing you touch, is a great way to be more aware and conscious of everything we do, and all of a sudden I am more aware of my fingers move as I type.
You bring alive and make tangible how it feels to simply be.
How easy does overwhelm creep in when we live in our thoughts and disconnect from our body and from being present? It snaps the joy out of our day and leaves us feeling flat, drained and exhausted. No matter what we do, if we connect to each moment with conscious presence and move in a way that is full of purpose without drive or any images of the end result, this free us up to enjoy all that we do. Our movements are then a blessing and not a chore.
What you share Nicole is how you started to enjoy what you were doing and took that feeling to what was needed next, it feels to me that you are bringing appreciation to each moment and that confirms every next moment, beautiful!
When we do this we bring joy to our day and to everyone around us. We can choose to live, work and go out into the world with a level of love and joy that simply blesses the world with our every movement.