“Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be” – Eckhart Tolle
“The experience of being alive is realized when we discover and live our “Now” – Joan Kappes
As we discovered in “Life in the Now-Zone Part 1: The Now Experience” and Part 2: “What is Now & Where Can I Find It?”, “Now” living is a way of being and a habit of awareness that, if fostered will lead to the “aliveness” that all of us seek. In short, it is the ultimate Come-to-the-Edge-Today experience!
So, how to begin (or deepen) this adventure of living each moment with awareness and choice. I will be sharing with you 12 simple and effective “leaping” exercises* that will quickly get you living in your “Now-Zone”!
But first, a short primer on how we humans develop new habits:
It is generally agreed in the self help world that it takes 21 days for a new habit to be created. This ’21 Day Habit Theory’ was discovered by Dr. Maxwell Maltz. Originally a plastic surgeon, Maltz noticed that it took 21 days for amputees to cease feeling phantom sensations in the amputated limb. Our brain circuits form engrams (memory traces) and produce neuroconnections and neuropathways if they are inundated for 21 days in a row. So, what this means is that our bodies are ready and willing to help us on this new habit of being aware in our “Now” IF we stay with this for 21 consecutive days. After this amount of time, our brain has made the connections and the adjustment! (Pretty cool, huh?)
Ok, let’s begin! First, make a verbal and written declaration to yourself that you have now “Come to the Edge Today” and are deliberately “leaping” on Day 1 today (Now), creating your 21 Day awareness habit! Begin by declaring this as Day 1, a day of practice time and playing time, a day of trying on new awareness!
Following are suggested “leaping” exercises designed to begin or continue your focus of becoming aware of your “Now”. There is no particular order to these suggestions and no right or wrong way of participating; you can choose any or all of the activities, but keep in mind that habits take time, so staying with an exercise for 21 days is very important. Relax and allow yourself to let go and try something new! After all, the only person who will know… is you, so “soar” a little!
Lastly, keep a journal of your exercises and observations. Why? Because developing anything new works best with some sort of accountability. Committing to 21 days of journaling will help keep you aware of your actvities, thoughts, feelings, insights, etc. In time, it will be very helpful to have a record of this time in your life (you’ll be glad you have it!)
1. Make a list of things you like to do that already bring you in your “Now” (what do you do that causes you to totally lose track of time?) Ex. Taking a shower, bath, reading a book, working a puzzle, etc. Just make a list of these things and decide to intentionally experience one or more of these each day. Begin with what you love! (How fun is that!)
2. Intentionally listen to your favorite music. Wear headphones, get comfortable and participate “in” and “with” the music! Allow no distractions – just “be” with the music
3. If you are a gardener, garden! (This is my favorite “in the moment” time! Several hours may pass and it seems like 10 minutes!) If you enjoy art, then fully immerse yourself in your creations! Focus on the experience of you creating the art!
4. If you are a reader, then read with the awareness of the chair, the book in your hands, the anticipation of turning each page. Be “in” the moment with this wonderful experience!
5. Take a shower or bath. Relax and enjoy the experience of the water. Try to keep your mind free of “to do” lists, obligations, etc. New thoughts will come to you during this time, so just allow them to flow; these will feel like inspiration rather than mind overload!
6. Read books (fiction or nonfiction) of people who live in their “Now”! It is such a gift to watch them and learn from them. Decide on what you would like to emulate, then day by day, incorporate those behaviors. Following are my “Now” recommendations:
The Present, Spencer Johnson (I highly recommend this one!!)
The Precious Present, Spencer Johnson
The House at Pooh Corner, A.A. Milne
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho (my all time favorite!)
The Dance, Moving to the Rhythms of Your True Self, Oriah Mountain Dreamer
The Life of Pancho Barnes: http://cometotheedgetoday.com/2010/09/29/grow-expand-live/
9. Practice with “Come to the Edge Today’s “leaping exercises” designed to foster your new habit of “Now” living (also found in each of the “Come to the Edge Today” posts)
Everything is Holy Now: http://cometotheedgetoday.com/2010/10/05/meditation-holy/
Where I am Is Perfect: http://cometotheedgetoday.com/2010/09/21/meditation-perfect/
May There Be Peace Within: http://cometotheedgetoday.com/2010/08/31/peacewithin-inspiration-meditation/
Life is Supposed to be Fun: http://cometotheedgetoday.com/2010/09/09/life-supposed-fun-motivation-inspiration/
Smile, Laugh, Giggle: http://cometotheedgetoday.com/2010/08/17/smile-laugh-giggle/
10. Set an alarm once per hour as your reminder to momentarily stop what you are doing and be actively aware of your surroundings, feelings, thoughts, sights, sounds, etc. Take just a minute to notice, be aware and experience your “Now”, then return to what you were doing. This is one of my favorite exercises because it quickly develops the awareness habit!
11. Each night before going to sleep, quietly lie in bed; breathe slowly in and out, in and out, then make a list (write it down) of 10 things that you are grateful for. Feel the gratitude! This will focus you, settle you, and cause your heart to soar!
12. This is the most important tip I can share with you. Lie on your bed or sofa, close your eyes (either in silence or listening to soft instrumental music) and breathe. 10-15 minutes at least once per day. Slowly. Breathe in, breathe out. Slowly, breathe in, breathe out. Focus only on your breathing (rather than the thoughts your mind has queued up)! This habit of focusing only on your breathing immediately quiets your mind and puts you in your “Now”! (If you do not understand why right now, you will down the road.) It may seem awkward at first (it did for me), but stay with it anyway. You will be so glad you did!
More ideas of what living in the Now-Zone looks like: Now – The Experience of a Lifetime
Let’s leap and soar together! Please add exercises or tips you use to develop your “Now” lifestyle. Include them in the comment section below. Thanks….and enjoy experiencing your life in the Now-Zone!
*”Leaping” exercises are included in each “Come to the Edge Today” reflection/meditation/post; they are my special gift to you as they allow you to immediately begin trying out the idea presented!
“To change a habit, make a conscious decision, then act out the new behavior” – Maxwell Maltz
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