In this episode of the Becoming Mindful Podcast, Jackie and Maria talk about what it means to live in the present moment. We dive into how you can let go of the past and stop grasping for the future.
After Listening, please let us know if this spoke to you. Let us know what keeps you from the present or what keeps you in the present. Reach out to us with any follow-up questions this talk has brought up.
We hope you will join us again next episode. Until then,
Be well friends!
Show Notes & Links
E19 – Let Go And Be Now.
Maria: Hello and welcome to the Becoming Mindful podcast. Today we want to talk about what it means to live in the present and be in the present moment and how you can let go of the past and stop grasping for the future. I am Maria.
Jackie: And I’m Jackie and we are Becoming Mindful.
Jackie: Hello everyone. It’s good to be back. And today we were talking about presence, which I feel is a really big topic.
Maria: Yeah, everything about mindfulness is about presence.
Jackie: I really enjoyed prepping for this episode because it helped to make the idea a little more tangible. It was a nice reflection to try to think about all the ways that we can cultivate presence and some of the ways that I’m not. So I’ve just been much more aware of it in the last couple of weeks as we’re prepping this.
Maria: Yeah, it’s a nice reminder of all of the little things. Sometimes you have good advice and when you really get into a topic and think about a topic, you really know what to do, but then you might not think about it all the time or remember when you go through your daily life, so it’s a nice refresher, I would say.
Jackie: Yeah, absolutely.
Maria: Okay. Why don’t we start with what it means to be in the present moment?
Jackie: For me, it’s really just letting everything be and like becoming the observer as they say in meditation and mindfulness practices where you’re realizing that you’re the one observing the world and observing everything that’s happening.
Jackie: And You can step away from the pressure to influence the world or to take action or to do something. Just really taking everything in all at once being there in the moment in what is happening just directly in front of you.
Jackie: How about you?
Maria: For me, it’s always about awareness.
Maria: You’re aware that you are in the present moment. And I think oftentimes when we become aware that we have not been in the present moment is actually when we step back into the present moment. One of the other things I think is engaging in what is around you and happening right in this moment.
Maria: And freeing yourself from the distractions or preoccupations with anything in the past or the future.
Jackie: Yeah, I like that.
Jackie: I think it can feel really immersive to be present. But it can also feel vulnerable and unguarded because you’re not over-prepared for whatever is to come. You’re not in control, you’re just letting things be and letting go.
Jackie: yeah, so I think it can be challenging in that sense.
Maria: That’s true. I also feel that sometimes it’s. a very short moment or it’s hard to stay in the present. As soon as you’re aware that you’re not in the present, you’re stepping back in the present and then you’re trying to cling to that and you’re clinging back to what just was, right?
Maria: So it’s like this cyclical thing of in and out of the present moment until you’re really able to let go.
Jackie: Yeah, you can’t grasp it.
Maria: No, you can’t grasp it. It just happens. So that’s very interesting sometimes. Let’s talk about why we even want to be in the present moment.
Jackie: That’s a good question. It’s really the only moment that we have. It’s really the only time we truly have to experience anything. And I think everything that can help ourselves or help others really lives in the present. If you think about having self-compassion, you can really only do that in the present. If you want to connect with others or have empathy and try to understand what other people are going through that happens, in the present. Joy and laughter and all of that you can only really experience in the moment, in the present. And I think that’s why I want to cultivate presence so much more in my life. Because it’s just that’s where everything lives. That’s where life is.
Maria: Right. Yeah. And that’s a very good point. I think there’s a quote by Eckhart Tolle that we’ve quoted a few times that says that the present moment is the only thing we have. And you were saying, the awe and the laughter or the compassion that happens at the moment really point on. Even thinking about things that you can be in awe of that you’ve experienced in the past, or they can be excitement for things in the future, but the excitement, the feeling that you’re having the expression of that happens now. Even if you’re thinking about something in the past and thought “Oh, my God, this was so beautiful.” You’re feeling it right now, right? Because you don’t have access to the past or the future. You’re not living in that.
Jackie: I love that.
Maria: Yeah, so that’s something that you just have to be aware of. We can’t live in the past or the future. They don’t really fully exist because they really only exist in our minds. They’re just a thought. They’re not something that’s there.
Jackie: And Through mindfulness practices and things we can separate ourselves from that because I feel like in everyday life, you get sucked into the past and the future and you’re always planning or ruminating or memorializing things. You know, I do a lot of planning. Yeah, it just takes you away from what’s going on right now.
Maria: Yeah And I feel also, some of the reasons to be in the present overlap with what we’ve talked about before what is a reason you practice mindfulness? Because really, for me, that’s what mindfulness is all about. Just being able to fully experience life and fostering deep connections. You can only listen fully and have a genuine engagement if you’re present if you’re not distracted. So it’s an authentic connection with someone. And yeah, all of the benefits that we discussed about mindfulness before. Just overall well-being and mental health, reducing stress and enhancing focus, increasing resilience to stressful situations, and being able to regulate yourself.
Maria: Like you have to have that awareness and this presence to be able to regulate your emotions and not be swept away by them. Like that reduced reactivity as well. And I think it also helps gain a deeper sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Jackie: Yeah. You just made me think of something else as well.
Jackie: When you’re talking about being in the present moment also allows you to have more clarity about what’s going on. Being able to really understand fully what your situation is in front of you and you can take more of intentional action in response to what’s going on. And you were talking about controlling your emotions. But then also in that pause when you’re feeling what comes up, you get that pause, that time to think, to determine how you want to respond and have more of an intentional response than if your emotions were taking you away.
Maria: Yeah. And I noticed that, too, for example, even doing an episode like this I have noted, right?
Maria: I have some notes open, and I’m looking at them, and then I’m noticing, too, that When I’m scanning the notes, I’m not fully present at that moment. So I have to call myself back and be like “Hey, I want to listen to what you’re saying in that moment, instead of jumping already to what could my response be or what does this remind me of?”
Maria: Although, it’s hard, because you automatically have these thoughts pop up and, oh, yeah, this reminds me of this quote, but then in that moment, I’m not fully listening. But if you are in the present moment and you are fully listening, somehow it also warps time.
Maria: It gives you this pause, this space as you said. Just gives you more time. Yeah. To really respond and take things in, make decisions, and fully grasp every word that’s said, right? Yeah. Interesting. I just noticed this.
Jackie: And it could take the conversation in places that you didn’t plan, that you didn’t expect.
Jackie: Because, yeah, I’ve got my notes over here, but when you’re bouncing, when you’re conversing with someone else, they can take you places that you wouldn’t have gone that you wouldn’t have thought of, and you’ll miss that if you’re staring at your notes like I just did.
Maria: And I can always just take a pause and look at my notes while you’re not talking, for example.
Maria: All right, you want to go to the next one then?
Jackie: Yeah, we next wanted to talk about how we actually cultivate presence. And how does mindfulness help us right in the moment? Maria, what do you think?
Maria: I think one of the things, like I just mentioned is the pausing part, right?
Maria: That we can take a pause. And we can actually observe things. So this awareness of your thoughts, anything around you, what are your visual senses, what are your auditory, what’s the signals coming in. You can take a pause and just observe them and I think that’s a good way to coming back into the present moment.
Maria: And it’s a relatively easy way to because you can always just say, “Okay, I’m going to pause and I’m going to look around or I’m going to listen, hear the birds or what other noises are there”. Maybe there’s a fan or the buzzing of my computer or whatever it is. It’s something that can bring you back into the present moment.
Maria: And there’s actually a quote that I wanted to mention that kind of embodies that because it talks about the observation versus the reactiveness which is ” don’t just do something sit there” by Sylvia Borstein, and I really like it because it’s the counterpart to the typical, ” don’t just sit there do something” like act! You’re not acting you’re just sitting there. But realistically, if you want to be in the present moment and you want to have an educated and well, thought and not emotionally reactive action.
Maria: You do have to sit there first and observe and then you connect.
Jackie: Yeah, because you have to understand what those feelings that are coming up are communicating to you. And so that you can then speak intentionally like you were saying.
Jackie: And mindfulness practices are how you can cultivate that because back to their roots where what we’re really trying to do when we’re meditating or doing a mindfulness practice is practice putting our attention on those different things, practicing where we want to put our attention. We’re trying to become that observer, like you’re saying, by taking our attention off of our thoughts and putting it in something in the present.
Jackie: And when we sit down and we practice and we put our mind on our breath or a mantra or something like that, we’re just practicing our thoughts and our emotions not taking us away and staying here is something that is tangibly in front of us. And that’s the theme of all mindfulness practices, right?
Maria: Yeah, I think that’s really the thing because what we’re trying to do with that practice is, as you said, taking that chatter and that just being swept away by the thoughts or the emotions and actually focusing on one thing. Now, in the mindfulness practices like meditation, like breath meditation, or even Any creative activities, or singing, dancing, something where you focus on one specific thing, but that’s really just a practice to get you into that mode because you want to narrow down the focus and the awareness.
Maria: In the end, it’s not so much just focusing on one thing that’s the goal, I think it’s the ability to take everything in without it taking you.
Jackie: Which is easier said than done.
Maria: Oh, yeah. And this is exactly why we need mindfulness practices. To help us with that. And there are lots of things that can be utilized. As I mentioned, any meditation you have grounding meditations, certain mantras that kind of give this very repetitive but Not distractive way.
Maria: You can infuse mindfulness into your daily activities, like eating or walking by really focusing on every step, how the step feel, or every bite you eat. Really trying to taste everything and feel the food in your mouth and those kinds of things.
Jackie: And hopefully, you get to a point where that’s how you’re experiencing everything, and you don’t have to be as intentional about it. The idea is to find yourself in that presence more and more often, right?
Maria: Yeah, then it becomes more natural. Although, I’m not sure that that also contradicts the whole thing a little bit, because you’re like, Waiting for something to happen in the future, like a state ” I’m doing this. So in the future, I will be mindful all the time.” So it’s a little bit contradictory in itself, I feel.
Jackie: As long as you’re not grasping. Yeah. Allowing it to be.
Jackie: Yeah, but you’re constantly being pulled out of that. I feel like society is such that it doesn’t really facilitate or nurture presence. We’re always. Being asked to plan things and remember things and show everyone what we’ve been doing through things like Instagram and everything, takes us out of the moment.
Jackie: It takes us out of presence. And I feel like all day long we’re getting practice being out of the present moment.
Maria: Yeah. And I noticed this too, just in general timekeeping, right? We have a clock and we do stuff by the clock and not when it feels right. Yeah. And I noticed this very much because children are very much or more in the present than adults.
Maria: And I noticed that with my child where she’s doing something and it’s in a way where you can’t say okay in five minutes, we’re going to do this, but then it’s going to be hard for her again because she’s doing something else, or now I want to do this, but yeah not in five minutes.
Maria: And then we’re like, okay, you have to have certain timeframes where you want to do something, you have to go to a thing that starts at this time.
Jackie: We’re always looking at that schedule.
Maria: I think that’s one of the biggest ones. So it just constantly brings you out of the moment.
Jackie: Another thing that I think makes being presence being present very difficult is. How uncomfortable it can be I think, especially when I first started, starting to sit and be mindful, it, you have to, stuff starts to bubble up like your thoughts start to bubble up and it might be something that you have to do later or something that happened to you yesterday or something, and these things just bubble up and.
Jackie: In meditation, specifically, we’re practicing, listening to those thoughts and then, gently letting them go with some compassion with no judgment and then coming back to the present moment and, repeating that over and over again. And I found the more I did that practice, the deeper the things that came up got, and they were more and more uncomfortable.
Jackie: There were things that I had pushed away that, I didn’t want to think about that were coming up. And I think that’s one of the biggest obstacles, for me at least, in being present. In that quiet, anything can come up. That’s why it’s important to have a meditation practice or to have a mindfulness practice because you start to process those things and move through them and let yourself feel them and learn from them.
Jackie: And, that can be really uncomfortable because there are things that you might’ve pushed away that you didn’t want to think about. And, they seem to just bubble up when you start quieting. All the noise.
Maria: Yeah. And I think it’s also some sort of survival mechanism to push these things away.
Maria: And yeah, the more space you have and the more you process them, the more your body and mind feel that you’re ready for more stuff. And then, it gets harder and harder. It’s what we talked about with the shadow work. It just gets hard and sometimes it’s really hard to not say, Oh, yeah, I just want to distract myself. I don’t want to feel this right now. Yeah. And I’m okay feeling it because when you’re not used to that, it’s really hard to allow certain emotions or certain thoughts to come through and be okay with it.
Maria: Yeah. And not re-injure yourself with it.
Jackie: That’s something that yoga helped me with a lot as a mindfulness practice of yoga is a lot of learning to be comfortable in discomfort and, sitting with it and feeling uncomfortable because I think we’ve learned a lot in our world that you don’t have to be uncomfortable if you don’t want to be.
Jackie: And we’ve, like you said we have distractions like media and things we can distract ourselves whenever we want. Yeah. endless possibilities for that. But yeah, yoga is just a practice where you sit in discomfort and know that you’re okay and learn that discernment and teach your body that it’s okay to be uncomfortable sometimes.
Jackie: And you just, Sit there with it, right?
Maria: Yeah. And it’s definitely also a cultural thing. Being uncomfortable is absolutely not something that our culture embraces at all. It’s quite the opposite. Yes. It’s interesting because there’s also this notion out there that this is something that is the nature of humans or anyone because you start out survival driven, that you will go to anything that is easier, that will give you comfort.
Maria: So that we are essentially addicted to comfort, which is a natural response because yeah, but because of survival. You want to do the easier things, so you don’t exert yourself, so you have the energy, to survive and to thrive and not worry about that.
Maria: But at some point, it goes over onto all these other things as well. Everything in your life that we forget what the negative sides of that are, right? Like you lose yourself in comfort.
Jackie: Yeah. I like that. Cause you do. Yeah, that’s interesting.
Maria: There’s actually another thing that I wanted to mention about how we cultivate mindfulness or what are some of the things, some of the tips and tricks to become more present. I think something that helped me is some sort of reminders or cues that can bring you back.
Maria: But I can quite literally remind you that you’re maybe not present at the moment. Visual reminders work well. I think auditory, some things like that. I really liked the one we talked about this a long time ago about the bell. Anytime you hear a bell or a bell-like sound, that can be a cue for you to be like, Hey, okay.
Jackie: Yeah, I like that one. I have jewelry. I have a bracelet. That is my reminder. That’s just the meaning that I gave it to remember to be in the present when I see it.
Maria: That’s nice.
Maria: That’s interesting. I wonder if that’s actually the purpose of some of these types of jewelry, like the ankle bracelets with the little bells on them.
Maria: I wonder, I don’t know. I’ve never thought about it like that, but maybe.
Maria: But yeah, definitely you get easily distracted and think about the past and the future. And there are definitely always times when you have to think about the future and the past, just because, you have to make sure you plan your meals or buy food that you have food in the house, those kinds of things.
Maria: Just part of nature and that’s okay.
Maria: I also feel that it is something that we can do and it has a purpose. So it’s not that you never want to be in the past or never think of the past or the future. Always live completely in the moment. I think that’s unrealistic. You can’t do that 100%.
Maria: And even animals don’t do that. You have to plan for the winter, right? And that’s okay. But I think most of the time there’s not very good reason not to be in the moment.
Maria: All right. So how do you let go of the past?
Jackie: Yeah, that’s a big question. It’s hard. We already talked about earlier, when you start working with mindfulness practices, and you start to observe your thoughts and see what’s popping up, you’re starting to be able to identify what is taking you away from the present. And maybe you can see some themes going on there or you can process that kind of stuff.
Jackie: And by that, at least for me, as they bubble up, looking at these memories, of the past with compassion. And just letting it play out, letting yourself sit in the memory and see what comes through, see what emotions you feel about it, and see what it’s trying to teach you, what lesson you can take from this memory.
Jackie: Doing that then gives you the power to let it go and to not think about it anymore because you’ve got some wisdom in your pocket that you can move forward with and take a different path or make sure you don’t if it’s things that come up that you can fix, like a relationship with someone or if there’s something that Some behavior that you had that you wish you didn’t respond in a certain way, you can now, go forward in the present moment and make a different choice and take a different.
Maria: Yeah, exactly. Really, you can acknowledge what happened and accept that it happened and that you can’t change the past and look at it from a, as you said, compassion. Look at it from a nonjudgmental or self-criticizing view and just acknowledge this happened or I acted this way and this doesn’t align with my current values and I wish it didn’t happen.
Maria: But, in the end, there is no reason to Let yourself get drawn into this loop of regrets and constantly play through it and what you would have done differently because you can’t do anything differently. The only thing you can do differently is go forward.
Maria: Yeah. From now on. Right now. How can you behave now? Who can you be now? And how can you potentially make amends if there’s something that you did or someone else did something? What consequence does it have, it doesn’t need to be something that you play through all the time.
Jackie: I feel like there’s something about just sitting in the memory and letting it sit in the discomfort. Maybe you want to run away and distract yourself but sitting there and just. feeling whatever comes up and letting that flow through you with compassion without resisting. And there’s something about that, that loosens the knot and gives you that clarity that you’re talking about, that you can then understand, like you said oh, I don’t want to respond in that way or this relationship is toxic or, you can see through all the weight around it and it just. Becomes so clear when you go forward. When you feel like the emotions, you’re starting to get in tune with what it feels like to be in that situation again.
Jackie: So then you have intuition going forward where, oh yeah, that next time I feel that feeling, I’ll know that I wanna respond differently or I maybe should pause because I could make a mistake with how I respond when I need to be more intentional or something.
Jackie: But it reminding your body what it felt like in that moment and being able to recognize it next time it comes up so you can choose differently.
Maria: I think it’s also important to have that kind of distance from it. And as far as more of an observer, more of an acceptance mindset, because when you remind remember a situation, or you think about a future situation your body doesn’t necessarily know that’s not something that’s happening right now. Just from a health perspective, it is very important to have an observer mindset because otherwise, your body is going through the same thing again then, right?
Maria: The experience.
Jackie: Yeah, I totally agree. You need that. You need that separation, and I think that’s where the compassion comes into. Where you’re looking at the experience from a compassionate person’s perspective and not judging and just observing what had happened.
Jackie: But from the clarity that you’re not there right now.
Maria: And then gives you clarity towards your action, right? As you said, it gives you this clarity.
Maria: I wanted to read a quote from Eckhart Tolle about letting go of the past that is from the book, The Power of Now. Which we also talked about in the past.
Maria: So what he’s saying is, “When you surrender to what is, And so become fully present, The past ceases to have any power. The realm of being, Which had been obscured by the mind, Then opens up.” And I think that sums it up quite well. The past ceases to have any power, right?
Maria: And, Everything becomes clear. The realm of being opens up, right?
Jackie: Again, yeah, that’s perfect. The past can’t control you anymore because you have the power in the present to make any choice you want.
Maria: Yeah. Yeah. And as we said before, the past exists in your mind. Yeah. It doesn’t exist In reality, because everything only exists now.
Maria: Not to mention that there is also a neuroscience perspective. If you remember something multiple times, it gets distorted. So there’s actually a benefit to letting go of things and not ruminating. If it’s a nice memory, it doesn’t really matter as much. That’s fine. But if it’s something where you are self-critical or you have regrets. I think that it amplifies it.
Maria: Because what really happens is in your brain, as far as I’ve read, when you remember something, when you remember it for the first time, you remember the event, but every consecutive time you remember, you don’t remember the event, you remember the last time you’ve remembered it.
Maria: Yeah. So it’s like this loop in your brain that gets distorted each time.
Jackie: Right. Yeah, that’s a really good point to make. Yeah.
Maria: I think there’s definitely a need for accepting acceptance and nonjudgment. And I know you wanted to maybe talk about this in acceptance and forgiveness.
Maria: What is it? How this affects this letting go of your past? And I want to Dig into that a little bit because I have some thoughts on that as well.
Jackie: Yeah, go ahead.
Maria: So for me, acceptance and forgiveness are obviously not the same thing, right?
Maria: When you embrace the reality of a situation, including difficult emotions or experiences, and don’t have resistance or judgment to it, that’s what Acceptance is for me.
Maria: And forgiveness is letting go of this anger or resentment towards yourself or others of what had happened.
Maria: But I think there is a 2nd definition of forgiveness that is not something that I associate with forgiveness and I don’t think that this is something that should. The absolving of responsibility, because I think the responsibility is still there. So that’s why I’m not 100% sure I like the word forgiveness as much because it’s often equated with the concept of ” it’s fine you don’t have to worry about it.”
Maria: but I think there needs to be a distinction. You can be kind and compassionate but that doesn’t really necessarily require forgiveness. I’m thinking of if there’s a really toxic person that you need to cut out of your life. You can accept what they did to you, how they hurt you, but you don’t have to absolve them of that. That’s their responsibility and they have to take accountability for it.
Jackie: Yeah, I see forgiveness, though, as more just “I’m not going to let it control me anymore or be a burden on myself anymore.”
Jackie: I’ve heard a quote often cited about forgiveness that it’s like being angry. It’s like holding a burning coal and expecting the other person to get forgiveness is more about freeing myself from what maybe they had done and not, I definitely agree with you, like not absolving any responsibility or anything like that but that’s on them.
Jackie: Maybe that’s what you’re saying about acceptance.
Maria: That’s why I’m saying like forgiveness has somehow multiple meanings and it’s a little convoluted for me. But that definition of forgiveness definitely is what I’m also thinking of. And that’s acceptance and kindness and compassion as well.
Maria: It’s just something that you need to distinguish. What about you?
Jackie: Yeah, just what I had just said, I think forgiveness is really about letting go of any power over you that the other person might have had and maybe taking some kind of ownership for your role in something that might have happened, as far as what you could or could not do in the future. What kind of a Person do you want to be? What is your role in it? Not responsibility, but your role, and yeah.
Maria: Yeah, I think that’s a good distinction because obviously, someone treated you badly, and you shouldn’t be held responsible for it where it goes into victim blaming. But I think there is definitely a role and there is a path forward.
Maria: Depending on the situation, maybe it’s something about your setting of boundaries. Some things obviously you can’t avoid. If you get attacked by someone there’s nothing you could have done. And I don’t want to tell anyone, oh, don’t go into this area because it’s dangerous.
Maria: That’s not the solution, right? It shouldn’t be on the person that’s just walking on the street, right?
Maria: But there are other examples where being a person that sets boundaries or holds boundaries and maybe listens to their instincts more when they see red flags is definitely something that can be a lesson that can be taken from that, which obviously doesn’t mean anything about responsibility.
Jackie: I think you can understand, you can have empathy for a person and forgive them in that sense in an empathetic way. But at the same time, you can not accept the thing that they did.
Jackie: And that in that sense as you said, creates boundaries. If that behavior is unacceptable, my role in that is to create a boundary between myself and this person. Because I don’t accept the way that they’re acting.
Jackie: But we can only control ourselves, right? I think the only things that we can control are our behavior and our response to things. And mindfulness practices give you the opportunity to be intentional about that. And I think a goal of mine is. Working through the past is forgiveness wherever I can freeing myself from ruminating on something or blaming someone for something.
Jackie: But instead of forgiving them and then doing what I need to do to protect myself going forward. I think that’s all you can do, right?
Maria: Absolutely. Yeah. And I think that also plays into this whole world of not taking things personally. Whatever someone says to you, or does to you is not personal.
Jackie: It goes through the filter of their whole experience.
Maria: And it also goes for positive things as well. Yeah, and that’s a really hard one to not take positive things personally.
Jackie: On the flip side of that, we wanted to talk about how to stop grasping the future as well. And this one was harder for me to think about because it’s harder for me to let go of.
Jackie: I couldn’t verbalize how you could do that, but it made me think about it could just be the same way that we let go of the past which is to become the observer and to take that step back and just let play out what will play out and stop thinking about what to say next and what to respond with and how to affect certain things and let things play out.
Jackie: And then when I started thinking about what about having goals and having, these big dreams and everything. And then I remembered a quote from Mother Teresa that went. ” Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” And that was so humbling to me because it was about being present and in the present moment, where can I help right now?
Jackie: What’s right in front of maybe it’s not some huge miracle, but it doesn’t need to be. Why does it need to, why does it need to be big? That’s just my ego talking. Just little things, yeah.
Maria: Yeah, I think it comes down to me to cultivate trust, like you trusting your instincts or things to happen, to work out, right?
Maria: Yeah. It’s this surrendering of control. And one of the biggest things just when you were talking about goals and dreams is releasing the attachment to the desired outcome. Yeah. So you can have dreams and you can have goals, but I think if you work towards them in a way where I’m going to be, I’m going to act like the person and I’m going to be the person at the moment, a person that has these dreams come true or that life that, and then it just becomes that.
Maria: Yeah, what is the outcome really going to be? The problem is like you’re dreaming up the exact situation that’s going to happen, the exact conversation, the exact house you’re going to have, or certain things.
Maria: But if you live your life or experience the present moment, act in the present moment in a way that goes towards that goal and doesn’t really care of what exactly it’s gonna look like. Embrace how things unfold in the present moment.
Jackie: And then you’ve enjoyed the whole journey.
Jackie: You’re less tied to that end goal. And how can you complain about that when you’ve, enjoyed every step along the way?
Maria: Yeah. And it’s like this whole idea of being the person that is the person that has that life that you want, right? Yeah. Just now. Be it now. Yeah. Act like them now. If you want to be compassionate and have great relationships, then you can be like that right now.
Jackie: You only have right now. What can you do right now? Do you need to pick up the phone and call someone?
Jackie: Do you need to, what can you literally do at this moment?
Maria: Exactly. Yeah. And if you feel like, Oh, I want to be more out in nature. Maybe right now I can look out the window or whatever. Yeah. Yeah. Something like that.
Maria: I want to mention a quote by Tara Brach from Radical Acceptance, the book that we just recently reviewed, that talks about the grasping of the future. And it goes like this. “In the moments when we let go of seeking, of doing, of controlling, when we let go of wanting life to be other than it is. We arrive at the immediacy and fullness of the present moment. We arrive at the simplicity and the spaciousness of what is.”
Maria: And I think that especially the part of wanting life to be other than it is, I think that’s a big part of not grasping for the future because that is one of those things where, oh, if I only do this, or if I only get this, then everything will be great.
Maria: But if we can be okay with what is. The acceptance, then we’re not grasping, right? We can still work towards changing it. I really like that part of it. I think that has a big part in not grasping for the future.
Jackie: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. That’s nice. That was a good book.
Maria: Yeah, it really was.
Maria: So to round it out and circle it back to what we talked about in the beginning, what does it look like to live a life being present?
Jackie: Yeah, I think that quote that you just had from Tara Brock who talked about spaciousness. I think being present, there’s more white space.
Jackie: More room to breathe. I think the feeling of content doesn’t get enough credit. And it’s a beautiful state to be in. And I think that’s what it is. There’s just more breathing room, more white space.
Maria: Yeah. Yeah. And I know I’ve talked about this before when you mentioned content.
Maria: I’ve talked about the concept of content versus happiness, like the desire to be happy. This blissfulness or whatever. I think that’s definitely because that’s realistically something you can achieve all the time. Versus you can’t be blissful all the time, it’s just impossible, or happy, really.
Maria: Unless your definition of happy is content, then yes.
Maria: Yeah, I think living in the present moment is, just being fully engaged and being able to savor the pleasures and the beauty of what is. Even of things that are hard or, to be able to be even content in moments where things go wrong where things are stressful. And I think it also allows us to cultivate this deeper connection with ourselves and with others, with the world around us, nature, right?
Jackie: Yeah, that deeper connection with ourselves, I think. You get more intuition. I guess you can cure your gut better. And I guess that manifests as, having more confidence in your decisions and in your path and being just more okay with what’s going on in front of you and being able to sit there and soak it all in, like you said.
Jackie: And I think also you can. Bring in more of the feelings around you. You can, you’ll feel more. I know, the more people think, the more mindful you get, the less you’re going to, have emotions, but really, I think you feel them more, but they just, they don’t control you you let them flow through you. And I think there’s more feeling because you’re more in tune with what’s going on around you. You’re absorbing it all. Yeah.
Maria: Yeah. I think there’s this whole equation to stoicism or whatever. I think also you’re more resilient because the emotions don’t control you.
Maria: And you’re also more able to accept things. As they come and, because nothing will really ever be the same and everything changes, and being mindful allows you to accept that, right?
Jackie: Yeah. I love that impermanence. Everything always changes. That’s what you can count on.
Maria: I think there’s also a joy that can be found in accepting impermanence, like the changing of things, just changing of seasons, the beauty of things being different.
Maria: I have another quote. I was looking for some quotes because I remember when we were talking about The Art of Living by Thich Nhat Hanh and we were reviewing the book he was talking about impermanence quite a bit. So I found a quote that I think sums it up very well. And, it just gives me good feelings. “Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible. Life itself is possible. If a grain of corn is not impermanent, it can never be transformed into a stalk of corn. If the stalk were not impermanent, it could never provide us with the ear of corn we eat. If your daughter were not impermanent, she could never grow up to become a woman. So instead of complaining about impermanence, We should see a warm welcome and long live impermanence. We should be happy when we see the miracle of impermanence. Our sadness and suffering will pass.”
Jackie: I love it.
Jackie: Yeah, I know, it’s just beautiful.
Maria: Life is only possible because of impermanence.
Jackie: Yeah, that’s perfect. Might as well get used to it. Yeah.
Jackie: Embrace it.
Maria: Yeah, it’s not something to be feared or resisted. And it has this beautiful transformative power.
Jackie: Always coming back to Buddhism and saying that our suffering stems from our grasping and wanting things to remain and hold on and stay the same, but everything changes.
Maria: And that’s good.
Jackie: It’s very good.
Maria: Yeah. I think that sums it up pretty well, doesn’t it?
Jackie: Yeah, thank you for this conversation. I really enjoyed talking to you about it.
Maria: Yeah, I always enjoy our podcast episodes.
Jackie: And we hope the listeners did as well.
Maria: Yes, exactly. Definitely hope that this helped you in some way, or at least, even if it was all things that you already knew, maybe it was just nice to listen to it. And we definitely hope you come back next time. We will announce the next episode’s topic before we record it sometime at the beginning of the month.
Jackie: Yeah, make sure to give us a follow on social media and reach out. Let us know what keeps you from the present or what keeps you in the present.
Jackie: Let us know if anything that we said resonated with you or if you have your own insights, we’d love to hear them. So reach out @becomingmindful on socials or becomingmindfulpodcast.Com.
Jackie: Thank you. And we hope to see you next time again.
Jackie: Until then be well.