I had my own business even back then – working as a solo entrepreneur – and I distinctly recall having to constantly shift my mind from work back to the present moment. I kept thinking about a project I had going with a client, so I was not paying full attention to Alison or the beauty around us.
To tell you the truth, I became really annoyed with myself. I caught myself becoming pre-occupied with my thoughts several times, so I had to continuously remind myself to focus on the “now” and not the future.
Today I’m glad I had that experience. When we got home, I realized the price I’d paid. I had not created the rich memories from our time together that I could have if I’d been attending more fully to each moment as it unfolded. That day continues to serve as an anchor for me, reminding me to pay attention to the people and events around me.
Life holds even more distractions now. Smart phones alone have resulted in a dramatic changes in the way people interact with each other. How can someone possibly be fully focused on the person in front of them when they’re checking text messages?
Ultimately, the ability to be fully present requires self-awareness - so you recognize when your mind is drifting - and a willingness to adopt a new way of thinking and being. There are huge payoffs for making this commitment:
#1 - You won’t look back years later with regret that you didn’t give focused attention to the people who matter most to you.
#2 - You’ll have richer memories of all your experiences because you’ve truly “absorbed” them as they happened.
#3 - The individuals you gave focused attention to will feel cherished and valued by you.
“If you let yourself be absorbed completely, if you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live more richly those moments.” - Anne Morrow Lindbergh
“Normally, we do not so much look at things as overlook them.” - Alan Watts
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” - Thornton Wilder