Wholeness Healing Today

Being In The Now

January 2008 is here. It is hard to imagine that another year has vanished in what seems like a moment in time. Of course, it may indicate that I am getting older as that seems to be something I heard from my early years – enjoy your moments because they quickly pass you by. And I suppose it is good to have days in our year such as the “New Year’s Day” when we can’t help but look at where we have been and where we are going. I think maybe one of the most pertinent points to look at is, “Are we enjoying our moments? Or are we often focused on the future and/or the past rather than being present in the time we really have, which is NOW?” Did we really stay present in the “now” during our 2007 year? Or did we lose those moments?

Eckhart Tolle, in a book called The Power of Now, suggests that “whereas before you dwelt in time and paid brief visits to the ‘Now’, have your dwelling place in the ‘Now’ and pay brief visits to past and future when required to deal with the practical aspects of your life situation.” And I wish it were only that simple as to make the decision to stay in the now and then do it. But, we all have times when we get caught up in the daily worries of our life, our stress, and the future concerns that creep into our daily moments which smother out “now” moments easily. We often give over our moments to our thoughts that stream in rather than allowing ourselves to choose what we focus on and what we think about.

So how do we stay in the moment? How do we make a conscientious choice to enjoy more of our 2008 moments? I do believe it comes from practice and there are many ways to work on it. One simple way is to work on breathing. If you think about it, breath is happening in the now. So if you are focused on breath, you are focused on the moment and your mind isn’t thinking about the many tasks you have to complete (in the future) or what happened yesterday (in the past) that was so upsetting. But it takes discipline to shut your mind off to yesterday’s woes or tomorrow’s worries.

Many practices call for learning to focus in the present by focusing on breath. One simple way to do this is to sit quietly and observe your breath, following the inhalation and then the exhalation, allowing yourself to slow your breath down. Counting the breath as it goes in and out is another way to keep the focus on the now. I suggest you start with this. Count your breath going in and out ten times. If your mind becomes busy with chatter and you lose count, then start the count over again with one breath in and one breath out, doing this until you can stay focused on ten breaths in and out. As you focus on breath, not only will you be learning how to be in the moment, you will be giving yourself a tool to calm and center yourself.

Another very good breathing technique is “squared breathing”. Your task is to make the cycle of breathing in four “five-count” steps. So you breathe in to the count of five, hold for the count of five, breathe out for the count of five and hold for the count of five. If your mind is full of endless chatter regarding past and future, implement this exercise to help you become more present in your day.

Tolle suggests that focusing on the “Now” helps to make our life so much simpler. He says to ask yourself what problem you have right now, not next year, tomorrow, or five minutes from now. What is wrong with this moment? Because all we have is right now. Presence removes time. Without time, no suffering, no negativity can survive.

So as we begin our New Year, consider paying better attention to your life by being in your moments and forgetting about your life situation. Pay attention to all we really have which is this moment. And enjoy more present moments in 2008.

Tolle, E. (2004). The Power of Now California: The New World Library.

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  • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
    Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner

  • Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.


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