The Importance of “Now”

I’m not gonna tell you to “Seize the day!” I’d love to. I kind of want to. But that’s not what this post is about. It’s about something more special. And it’s for someone really special…

You.

If you’re reading this, I’ll bet that you’re already pretty amazing. I imagine that you’ve achieved numerous successes in life already. I’d go so far as to say you have incredible goals…and bold plans to achieve them. You probably have mentors, coaches, teachers, and friends to guide you on the path to your wildest ambitions. Either that, or you’ve immersed yourself in so many fantastic books filled with wisdom, it’s as if you have a whole squad of author/writer cheerleaders supporting you every step of the way.

And even if you don’t, I’ll bet you’re still well on your way to some place phenomenal.

I’ll be the first to say that you don’t need another life coach at this very moment. You don’t need to hire a pricey personal trainer or an expert dietician to help you get into that old pair of jeans. And you certainly don’t need another self-help book telling you what you’ve done wrong and how to fix it. (I have nothing against life coaches, personal trainers, dieticians, or self-help books for that matter. They all have their time and place. This just isn’t it.)

If you feel as if I’m talking to you, I truly am. So stay with me on this. Before you enroll in that next Excel spreadsheet class at your local community college, before you pull out your credit card to sign up for mixed martial arts boot camp training, before you buy that two hundred dollar juicer, do yourself this one small favor.

Take a breath.

No, seriously. Take a nice, long, cleansing breath. Inhale for a count of four, holding at the top for a count of seven, and then release for a count of eight.

Do it one more time.

Filling your lungs to capacity and allowing yourself time to exhale completely is the simplest and most effective way to bring yourself a sense of calm and clarity. Breathing! It’s the most important thing we do for ourselves, usually without thinking much about it. But when you flip your awareness switch on, when you suddenly commit to taking whole deep breath, you do something so few people today even bother with.

You connect yourself to the “now”.

You’re either nodding your head in polite agreement, or you’re wondering, “Okay…and then what?”

It’s funny, but…I don’t have the answer. Please don’t get mad at me.

What I mean to say is that someone else does. And that person is you. We’ve already established that you’re a go-getter. You have outlandishly noble dreams, and you’re working diligently toward them. Or maybe today you find yourself spinning your wheels a bit. That’s okay too. We all spin our wheels and drive ourselves crazy from time to time. Let me rephrase that – I know I spin my wheels and drive myself crazy from time to time.

And that’s precisely the moment I take a 100% tax-free, sumptuous, long, cleansing breath. I relish every one of those nineteen counts, and then I do it all over again. Why? Because if I’m spinning my wheels, that breath forces me to pause. I don’t need to waste energy. And I certainly don’t need to whittle away my happiness in the process. Within that breath, within that space I create for myself to simply exist, I inevitably gain an ounce or two of instant clarity.

You probably see where I’m going with this. If you don’t, thanks for hanging on regardless. I promise it’ll make sense when you try it a few times.

With a clear mind frame comes something truly valuable. Something I call Authentic Intention.

How is authentic intention any different than good old-fashioned regular intention? Without going into too much detail, it has to do with being real with yourself. So let’s get real, shall we? Once we’ve taken those much needed deep breaths, once we’ve slowed down time, once we’ve calmed the turbulent waters of the river that flows through our awakened minds, we can focus on ourselves for a change. Not in a selfish way. Quite the opposite. It is only through our authentic intentions that we become more compassionate, charitable, and all around more neighborly. When we ensure our own needs are met, we can better assist others.

So now we’re in a position to best decide our present course of action. Maybe today is actually a day best dedicated to rest. Or maybe it’s the exact opposite. Maybe you have pent up energy, and you need to explore a new hiking trail. Or maybe you need to challenge yourself at the gym. Who knows! Maybe that boot camp really is just the ticket for getting you in shape again. The point is that once you’re grounded in the “now”, you’re in a position to better make that determination, or any decision for that matter.

Too often we waste our time, money, and resources on things we assume we need to take us on our journey, but they only leave us spinning our wheels. Achieving wild dreams requires a very non-wild, well-laid plan. Trying everything and anything to achieve success ultimately leaves us frustrated and out of breath.

So do yourself the biggest favor possible. Before you take out your credit card, before you commit to earning a second Masters, before you decide to sell the house and run away to Paris…pause. Take a breath. Enjoy this moment. Relish how far you’ve come. Take a look at ALL the places you could one day journey toward when you’re ready. If nothing else, take a break to sneak in a moment of sunshine.

Only when you’ve found the clarity that comes from recognizing the “now”, the clarity required for attaining the biggest dreams imaginable, will you seize the savoir-faire to make them all happen.

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