Enjoy the Gift of Today

The only thing for certain is now.
My favorite quote is from Eleanor Roosevelt:

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift.’’

That is why we call it the present.

To me, this quote reinforces what we know of mindfulness.

Good or bad, this instant, this moment is all we have.

Unwrap it Slowly

Today is a gift. And it’s important to “unwrap” it slowly. In other words, be present and enjoy today.

Living in the past often leads to regrets and sorrows. Yes, I want to learn from my mistakes, but I don’t want to dwell on them and punish myself or others for them.

Living in the future leads to worries and stress. Yes, I want to plan for the future but I don’t want to “what if” myself into anxiety and panic.

Living in the present is really all we can do, all we have. This breath, this moment, this instant, this gift.

Mindful = Focusing on the Moment

This is all a part of being mindful, a very powerful stress management tool.

Living with the intention to be mindful not only increases our awareness of what is going on within and around us, but it decreases the power of the chattering noise of regret and worry in our head that creates so much unnecessary stress.

It’s a constant challenge, even for me, an expert in mindfulness and stress management.

One evening, a while back, my daughter surprised me with a last-minute overnight visit. Going for the mother of the year award, I went crazy trying to choose the “best” restaurant for dinner during her visit and it took me hours to decide.

I finally opted for a trendy new restaurant where we could order a glass of wine, instead of taking her to her favorite pizza place from childhood.

I picked up her at the airport and we raced to the restaurant. I was excited about our unexpected evening together, but as we entered the restaurant and made our way to our table, I started to cry. (Sob is probably a more accurate word.) My heart was already aching in anticipation of her leaving tomorrow.

But then, I remembered Eleanore Roosevelt’s quote about today being a gift. And I realized: Having dinner with my daughter today, now, was the gift.

Concentrating on the Now Can Bring Peace

I used my senses to anchor myself in the present, listening with my ears and eyes, watching her, really watching her, smelling all the flavors of the kitchen, feeling the softness of the tablecloth and the taste of the perfect glass of Merlot. I relaxed. I enjoyed. I focused on the present.

Yes, tomorrow is another day and yes, I will be sad. But today is a gift, I am pure joy with my daughter by my side.

Mindfulness is becoming a very popular way to build resilience. It is a clinical tool, taught to MBA students to increase their emotional intelligence and teach better leadership, and used by athletes to enhance performance. Anyone with a Smartphone can access an app on mindfulness.

Forget the Multitasking

Today, many of us, multi-task, trying to keep up with the rapid pace of work and home life. This multi-tasking leads to losing things, making careless mistakes, regretting, worrying, stressing — and sadly, missing the NOW.

So today, this moment, Stop. Take a moment to notice 5 things around you. Observe. No judgment. It is what it is. Push the reset button. And continue with TODAY.