We've all heard the phrases "live in the present", "be mindful", etc., and both are a very good idea, but what does that mean exactly?  If I am to be mindful of every moment, then that has to be EVERY moment.  Sometimes it's easy to be fully present if I'm in a moment that I think I want to be having, but if I find myself in some moment that I don't want to be having, then it is far more difficult!  Staying present means feeling the love, grief, joy, frustration, excitement, and fear.  We must stay present and feel all of it, whatever this moment is offering.  Developing this muscle is much like creating other habits in our life.  It takes practice. 

I was recently having a conversation with someone in which we were discussing dating relationships.  When we are new to dating, it is less about whether a current relationship lasts or not, and more about the kinds of patterns we are developing in terms of how to navigate relationships.  Creating effective habits in navigating relationships is key to having relationships that are healthy and happy as we move through life.  What habits have you developed?  Do you lean into conflict, or do you run?  Do you express yourself authentically, or do you mold yourself to fit someone else's ideal?  Do you hold differences gently, or do you criticize everyone who is not like you? 

As a child I was blessed with a naturally thin build and could eat whatever and how much of whatever I wanted and never gained a pound.  None of that was a problem.  The problem is that because of that natural blessing I never learned the value in developing effective eating habits or giving my body proper fuel to keep it healthy and strong.  As we all know, as adults our metabolism often changes and suddenly that naturally thin body is not as easy to find!  When times of emotional stress hit, I find myself craving all those foods I could eat as a child with no consequences.  Only now, yes you guessed it, MANY consequences!  Because I didn't learn healthy patterns as a child and young adult, I am now having to reprogram myself as an adult.

I believe mindfulness is the same way.  We develop habits of being fully present, one moment at a time.  If I have something exciting coming up and spend all my moments leading up to that time dreaming about it and not being fully present with what is at hand right here, right now, then it's likely I won't be able to remain fully present for the exciting time either.  Our present behavior is often a good indicator of our future behavior.  For years, as the new year resolution time approached, I was the one who said "tomorrow is the first day I start getting into shape!"  It wasn't until I was ready to say "today I do something to help my body feel healthy" that change occurred.  It has to happen today, or it will never happen.  Today is all we have.  What patterns are you developing and/or strengthening within yourself today?

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