I like to refer to it as ‘the practice of being present’ as it truly is a practice and something we have to work on every day. Being present to me means being aware and feeling fully alive. Do you feel present in your life or does life generally feel chaotic?

What I have learned is that it’s not about ticking off a to do list but rather being more present with the things I am doing each day like reading a story to my child or working on one project at a time and not juggling six different things at once. Multitasking might work for some but over time I have found that it’s distracting and leads to many jobs being nearly finished instead of properly finished and done well.

Becoming a mum was the first time I was forced to be present because that’s what children do – they live in the present. They anchor you in the here and now. As James grew I learnt to really live in the here and now whereas before I ran from problems and the thought of being alone with myself was quite terrifying.

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I saw the true beauty of the world through a child’s eyes after James was born and realised just how much we take for granted or miss when we become adults. The first time he saw a bird in the sky and a plane flying it was sheer amazement and I remember when he was a toddler he kept saying mum – wow!! One day as I walked over to him he was looking at ants on the ground and he was simply stunned watching them. His little face looked up at me and I felt really emotional at how powerful the moment was.

However practicing being present caused me to feel very emotional in the beginning as it was so awkward for me to really feel my emotions? When you are present you feel and see things more clearly and when you have been suppressing that aspect of yourself for so long it can almost be like freeing all these emotions that are hyperactive after having been locked away for too long. They can be unruly and unnerving and you need to figure out how to deal with them.

Having struggled with mental health and addiction problems for so long, working on being more present in my life allowed me the space to finally heal. It’s an awareness that I have built up and something I work on daily. Some days I’m better than others but that’s life and I try to take the rough with the smooth, have fun with it and ease off beating myself up for not doing everything right.

For years I strived for perfection (whatever that is) and it’s exhausting and unrealistic. There is no such thing as perfection as we are all so different and our standards and views of the world differ so greatly that its ridiculous to do anything other than work on our own internal happiness and contentment.

Through my daily meditations, gratitude journals, food, fun, fitness and therapy being present has become the single greatest gift I have ever given myself. It’s like slowly discovering life’s elixir. Over the years the more I got the more I wanted and the better my life became.

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What I realized is that I had become an obsessive list ticker desperately trying to get through different tasks in an effort to be supermum but in reality I was missing out on actually being a mum or really living. During my recovery from postnatal depression I became emotional because I had finally allowed myself the time and space to simply just be with my son. You almost feel guilty initially as if allowing yourself to do this means you are lazy.

I now realize that we attract what we are into our life. I now look back and realize my run of incredibly bad luck with work, boyfriends and life events was actually caused by me and how I was living. Our life changes when we choose to live differently. Our life changes when we choose to be present.

[bctt tweet=[bctt tweet=”Life gives you plenty of time to do whatever you want to do if you stay in the present moment. Deepak Chopra” username=”alicanavan”] username=”alicanavan”]

Here are some simple ideas to help you become more present:

  • Focus on your senses – how does your food taste?  What can you see when out in nature? Tune in to smells and colours!
  • Savour your shower and start the day mindfully. Tune into how the water feels on your body and in turn you will tune into how you feel.
  • Notice the miracles in each day by practising gratitude. Gratitude helps to ground us and bring us into the present. Start to notice the small things like someones smile or a refreshing glass of water.
  • Stop, breathe and become fully aware of the moment.
  • Take a short meditation break.
  • Write in a journal.
  • When in conversation give the person your full attention.
  • Have digital free time with loved ones and for yourself.

How do you practise being present? I would love to hear from you – Share in the comment box below

Shine Bright

Ali xxxx

#mindfulmonday