Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Living For The Purpose Of The Present

How much time do we spend living in the past? Mulling on old memories and previously lodged emotions? And how much time do we take out of our day dreaming about the future? Projects we've yet to undertake or prospects we've only begun to consider? I found out that I do both quite frequently and have been striving to break this annoyingly fortified habit.

Unfortunately, and as many others have learned, it isn't an easy task to undertake. As a dreamer I'm frequently in my own little world, creating vast expanses of imaginary worlds and building on them with characters, dramas and the like. I enjoy doing this, I'm a writer after all, and what better to spend my days doing than envisioning new ideas and realities to enjoy and share with others?

But what about the rest of the time? I continuously chide myself, noting how often I decide to relive an event I didn't enjoy in an effort to figure out what went wrong. Or perhaps I take the time to go over a conversation I plan to have with someone, which may or may not happen at all. I do these things constantly, becoming the worrier that I promised myself I wouldn't inherit from my mother's side.

Tell me, does this sound at all like you?

And what really interests me? When we try to come back to the present and stay there...how long does it take for our minds to begin to wander?

I've tested myself over the course of a commute home.

I didn't even last a minute.

That's sad.

But that is exactly the reality I face, a very difficult realty I'm striving to change.

So, how exactly can I change it? It starts with practice, as all things do when we want to shake up our lives. And what exactly is the practice? The practice is spelling! Yes, that's right, spelling.

Sounds easy? Not when the next step is spelling the word backwards.

I chose "Mindful" for my first word, ironically. And so on my way home I was spelling the word forwards and then "Lufdnim", which pretty much kept my attention focused on the road and on the word. It was pretty interesting, noting the results.

I did this over and again until I noticed my thoughts wandering again, upon which I would select a new word. It was fun, easy to do and helped me remember a few words I'd forgotten how to spell.


  1. I am a crazy planner. I need to plan ahead. I think of it as preparing for the future 'now'. I don't really see anything wrong with it, myself. I don't think I could do that spelling trick. It would make me think of something else and off I'd be again.

    If I don't get enough day dreaming time by bed time, I can't get to sleep until all the scenes play out. It's torture sometimes!

    1. Planning for the future really is a good thing to do, I agree. My mind tends to find its way onto things I just can't do a thing about though, which causes me to worry unintentionally.

      Really? Those must be some terrific scenes then! Ever have some that actually follow into your dreams whilst you're sleeping?

  2. I admit I think about the future all the time. Dr Dyer says to imagine your dreams and desires as if you already have them and that's what I try to do. Today the dentist told me I have to be more "mindful" of when I'm clenching my teeth because I have more fractures in my enamel every time she sees me. That's hard to do because I have no idea that I'm doing it!

    1. Ouch! I'm sorry to hear that! I think we have the clenching thing in common. It's one of the reasons I'm trying to stay aware of the present, lest I start on one of my habits such as the clenching or picking at my bottom lip. I hope you can remain mindful of the teeth clenching! Good luck!