As an actress, I’ve had to repeatedly learn how to be present. I’m someone that basically lives in the future, constantly going over my goals and how what I’m doing right now will affect my tomorrows, there hasn’t been much time for me to be right here right now. But let me tell you, it’s amazing the difference it makes when you are just living in the moment. I’m here to share with you what I’ve learned on how to be present.
Why should we be present?
It’s like playing catch up. By the end of your life, if you never just enjoyed the moment, you’ll feel it. You’ll realize you’ve just been living for that big paycheck, the nice car, the fancy house, the perfect body, trying to impress everyone; when you could have just been enjoying the here and now. Waiting to be happy is not the answer. Waiting to feel good enough about yourself will be an eternal quest. Happiness and contentment is found right here, in this moment.
This little process I have can be done anywhere. If you’re at your lunch break, sitting at your desk, driving in your car. Whether you’re alone or surrounded by people, it will work just fine. It doesn’t take 20 minutes, it takes as long as you need. Truly, you can do it in about five minutes.
How to Be Present
Take 3 deep breaths.
Feel yourself. Your heartbeat, your blood flowing through you. Feel stillness. Look around you and take in your surroundings. What do you notice?
Think of the good.
Because there is so much good. More than the media wants us to believe. Think of your accomplishments, the happy moments of today. Think of what you are grateful for in this very moment.
Let go of what you “should” be doing, of what other people are thinking about you, of the moment not being perfectly in your control.
There’s this term in acting called “watching yourself.” I was once performing a scene in a class, and as we got critiqued afterwards, my professor said, “McKenzie, you were watching yourself instead of just living in the scene.” Translation: I was too worried about how I was appearing to everyone else. Was my hair looking good, was I making weird faces, was I sitting in a weird position so that you could see my fat rolls? I was told I needed to let go of that and just be there in the moment, not caring what the people saw.
The scariest things about living in the present is that we might have to deal with some feelings that we’d rather just push away. But just because you’re burying your feelings, doesn’t mean they go away. They will continue to grow unless you take care of them.
So recognize in this moment what you’re feeling. If it’s sad, embrace it. If it’s calm, live in it. Whatever it is, acknowledge what you are feeling. It’s okay to feel that way. Once you embrace what you’re feeling, allow it to take up the space and then it will be able to move on much quicker than if you had tried to deny its existence.
Be real with yourself and with the people you’re talking to. Look into their eyes. Stop trying to be something you’re not or something you think everyone will like. Don’t shy away from being vulnerable and showing the world the true you.
To be fully present is to be connected to the person you’re talking to. To have this amazing synergy. Watch them. Seek to understand them before they understand you.
Watch this video from an acting master that is speaking about being present.
How do you know if you’re being present?
- You feel no urgency.
- There’s connection in the air.
- If you’re having a conversation with a person, you really are sitting there with them, having no agenda of what you’ll say next or wondering what they’re thinking. You’re just listening.
- You feel natural.
- There’s a calm to you, because you know that all is well.
- Magical things happen because the universe knows you are being yourself. And blessings will come from that.
Being present can be scary at first, but it is the happiest place to be.
It takes practice daily. Don’t shy away from this moment.