Recently, a friend of mine posted this quote from Buddha on Facebook:
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
And, being the slightly sarcastic friend that I am, I replied, “Ok, how?”
The truth of it is, being in the moment and enjoying the process are Really Difficult things to do!
When we are in the moment, and enjoying the process… We Don’t Even Notice IT!
We don’t stop the process, stop enjoying it, we just go through it, enjoy it, and then it is over.
As much as I am an eternal optimist, I’m not that way all of the time. In fact, being the goal-oriented person that I am, I sometimes find myself pushing through difficult projects, taking on gigantic goals, and trying to do more than humanly possible. I don’t want to just do things, I want to get them done, and get them done yesterday.
This leads me into a pushing forward mindset. Sometimes, I realize I want to push past moments, meals, and even months of my life.
Couple this with an insatiable drive for success; there isn’t a whole lot of room for sitting around and letting things sink in. In fact, sitting around is rather difficult for me. I am happy sitting and doing something, but not just sitting around. I crave movement, and sitting makes me restless and panicky.
After reading my friend’s comment on Facebook, and being reminded of the fact that I should be enjoying my moments, I did a bit of research on how to do that more often. Most of the articles I came across were garbage. They said things like “if you like what you are doing, you will enjoy it” – um, yeah, duh. Or, that someone told them they should enjoy a moment, and then they did.
But my ultimate question here today is this:
How can you enjoy the moment when things seem really, really hard?
After thoughtful consideration, the conclusion I’ve come up with is this: We can’t really enjoy all of our moments, sometimes, the best we can do is just get through them.
While I’ve had a great year of adventures and travel, it has by far been one of the most challenging years of my life. I’ve faced a multitude of difficult travel situations staying in 6 different countries for 6 months of the year – language barriers, metros, maps, museums, hotels, hostels, exchange rates, etc.; a fallout with a past business partner – meaning I had to revamp my ENTIRE business while on the road, completely redo my video course (via Starbucks internet-SUCK IT); and then upon returning to Thailand, I decided to complete my Dive Master course (for fun) which has deemed itself to be about 1000 times harder than I could have ever imagined. I’ve missed flights, been scammed by people in China, lost my bank card abroad, you name it.
Needles to say, I’ve hit a lot of bumps along the way, and I’ve found it really helpful to take time to feel refreshed. We all need some “bounce back” time, so:
Here is a list of my personal uppers:
Sleep… a lot. When you are taking on a lot, it is important to get the rest you need, and when you are under stress, you need more sleep than ordinary. Give yourself the time you need to sleep and rejuvenate.
Give in to some of your vices. While I am a proponent of healthy living, when you are going through tough times, I think it is OK to let yourself be a little more unhealthy than usual.
Watch funny movies. Sometimes comedy is what you need in order to gain perspective and stop taking things so seriously. I’ve been downloading lots of things that make me laugh or bring a smile to my face. You can see these on my YouTube favorites, or here are some of my top picks for movies I’ve seen this year: Arthur, The Princess Bride, Paul, Amelie, and Kung Fu Panda 2.
Listen to music. Having awesome tunage takes the edge off. Explore new music interests and keep your mood elevated in the process.
Let yourself daydream. Fantasizing about the future is a healthy way of projecting. Focusing on what you really want will help you see that you are getting closer to your goals, even if you are going through a rough patch.
Eat cookies. Because they are yummy.
Talk about it. Find friends that understand you are going through a difficult time and let yourself go through the emotions that you feel. Try to avoid the urge to be “fake happy” and pretend that everything is alright when it isn’t. Let yourself be humanized by your experience and maybe it will make you more compassionate when others need your support.
Find constructive outlets. It is important for you to feel like you are achieving things, even when you are in a rut. Make small attainable goals that will help you see progress in some areas of your life and keep you motivated.
Take on less. It is easy to feel the need to Push Forward, or Do More, but this will quickly lead to frustration and emotional burn out. Try doing less and letting yourself build back up.
Remember that all things pass. Once you are through the tough times, you will be able to enjoy your moments again, and feel the happiness that you desire now.
Hopefully this list has helped, and even if we can’t enjoy all of our moments, we can at least enjoy them a little bit more. Because, as they don’t say, “Life is a Journey… enjoy most of the process, and just try to get through the rest of it!”
What are some of the things you do to get through challenging times? Share your uppers!!