After reading The Power of Now by Eckhardt Tolle, I became very aware of the present moment. I started to notice when I was indeed in "the present" and when I wasn’t, which, by the way, was most of the time. It was very shocking to me how often I was re-running past conversations in my head. And, usually, those conversations were not happy ones, which left me with feelings of sadness, anger, resentment, and the list goes on. If I wasn’t re-running past conversations, I was mapping out future scenarios. This wasn’t any better for me. Thinking in the future often left me feeling very anxious, nervous, and downright worried all the time.
I HAD A CHOICE!
After noticing these thoughts, I realized it was time to get in the present and take control of my thoughts. Wow, this was a game-changer. The most important thing I learned was that I had a choice! I decided which thoughts I wanted running through my head and which I did not. Once I did this, I realized that the present wasn’t that bad most of the time. I wasn’t actually being "chased by a tiger," and the old conversations or events that I kept replaying weren't still happening. This left me much happier, focused, and fulfilled.
STAY PRESENT TOOL
Now for the next step…the big job was to teach this technique to my kids. It was just like finding a new movement that feels amazing in my body, and I immediately want to share it with anyone who will listen. As I saw my kids starting to have more emotional swings and more challenging things to deal with in life, I knew it was time to teach them my "Stay Present Tool."
I started asking my kids what was going through their head in many situations, such as:
- When at bat during baseball games;
- At the free-throw line during basketball;
- Before or after a test;
- During meditation or prayer time; or
- When they complained about having to do something mom wanted them to do, and they weren’t happy about doing it.
“All is well” mantra
For their more private thoughts and moments, I assure them, “You don’t have to tell me what is going through your head, I just want you to notice what the thoughts are.” I then suggest more positive thoughts or even just recommend saying, "All is well" in their heads. During the more stressful events, I suggest taking a few deep breaths in conjunction with the “All is well” mantra.
My youngest is often willing and eager to do a guided meditation with me during the evening time before bed. He will mention how his thoughts drift off to other events during our guided meditation. This provides an opportunity for me to let him know that’s okay and that he can re-direct them back to the meditation. When I’m getting push back about going to the restaurant they don't want to go to, I ask them to make a choice. They can continue to sulk or choose to re-direct their thoughts to something that’s not going to make them so upset.
By teaching my kids the "Stay Present Tool," I’ve also introduced them to many other tools we promote at EnVibe Life: guided breathing, meditation as a daily practice, and intentional thoughts. All of these are such advantages in this game called life. I feel it’s never too early nor late to introduce them.