As a mom, coach, and friend, I know all too well how challenging it is to stay focused on the present, what is right in front of you, instead of looking behind or too far ahead.
It’s been a minute since I have been in the trenches where you are right now, mama, but I remember the struggle like it was 10 minutes ago. My five kids are now ages 23-29, and as I look back, I so cherish the times when I know I was 100% present with them, no matter what we were doing.
Not thinking of my endless to-do list.
Not checking my phone, mindlessly scrolling.
Not worrying about finances.
Not thinking about their future.
Not replaying past times I didn’t show up as my best with them.
Not second-guessing my choices.
Not zoning out to whatever they might be watching on the television.
But really being so 100% present with them, in the moment, no matter how fun or hard that moment might have been.
I know it’s not easy to do— everywhere we turn, we see life moving at warp speed. We put expectations on ourselves and our families to keep being and doing and giving and achieving. But I’m here to encourage you today to just be.
Sit in silence. Giggle louder. Sing sweeter. Listen harder. Just be.
Because Life is a Journey.
Each of us experiences the journey in our own unique way. Just as every runner in a race notices different scenery, connects with various people, and finishes with varying times, the journey is most important.
Your journey matters because of what you notice, whom you impact, and the legacy you leave.
I have a coaching client who is a beautiful mother who enjoys running marathons with several other moms in her friend group.
A few years ago, they headed to Texas to run one of their annual half marathons. My client, Jennifer, really wanted to run this specific race differently than she had in the past, where her only goal had been to finish as quickly as possible. This time, she wanted to look around more and enjoy the people she was with more, as before, all she had on her mind was the finish line.
Can you relate?
In past races, she was so busy being focused on the finish, she missed all the magic along the way that her running buddies noticed and shared with her later.
“Did you see that family that came out with all the banners and decorations for us?”
“Wasn’t the small band on the side of the road great?”
“That one group on the bleachers with the blankets was so funny, right?”
“Did you see that dog running alongside us? He was so happy!”
She realized that in having her “focus-on-the-finish” attitude, she skipped looking around and just ran to the end, and then she thoroughly enjoyed her surroundings. She realized that a simple shift of looking up and around, even just periodically, would have completely changed the experience for her. She thought that if she looked up and around, enjoying the run, she would have slowed down too much and performed poorly. In truth, slowing down would have made her experience so much richer.
So this year, she decided she was going to look around more. She was determined to search out cool people and things to tell her friends about. When the pistol went off, she ran with her head up, taking in the sights. Much to her delight and surprise at the end of the race, she not only collected some great views and stories, but she also improved her time by 7 minutes!
Sweet mama, life is a journey. We can put our heads down and plow through all of the responsibilities, challenges, and activities and miss the good stuff, or we can take a look around and enjoy the journey … really taking it all in.
Having fun along the path of life does not mean you lose all intensity. It simply means that you know when to lighten up, enjoy the ride, grow intentionally, and also when to put the blinders on.
How do you do this?
I will tell you. Worry and fear come from being outside of the moment and fretting about “what ifs” of a future time. Whether that future time is next week, next year, or ten minutes from now, worrying never improves the outcome of something. It merely diminishes your energy and focus in the now.
Anger, guilt, and resentment come from hanging on to things of the past. Past actions, words, deeds, or circumstances ruin the present moment. Think about it … what have you been mad about this week? Today? Yesterday? What have you done to remove that anger, resentment, or guilt?
You have a choice.
You can simmer in it, rehash comments, replay situations, or be proactive to remove it in the present moment. This reminder to live one day at a time and the resulting shift in emotional, spiritual, and physical energy could save you years of anxiety, negativity, and disappointment.
What a beautiful gift to give yourself and your family to stay so present and make intentional choices each day that keep you living with joy. Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, and choose honestly. Choose happiness. How can you realign your choices right now, today, to be aligned with living in the present, not dwelling in the past or the future? I’d love to hear more about it in a comment below.