Vail on purpose: Take inventory to help you stay in the moment
Eagle County CO, Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado “-“I want to explore a concept with you that I heard at the high school graduation the other day,” Laura said as she settled in the chair across from me.
Laura continued, “I was very impressed with the valedictorian’s speech and was touched by her insights. It felt like her message was directed at me.”
“What was the message?” I asked.
“She talked about living in the moment and how she had regrets about focusing so intently on her grades. She felt she had missed some of what high school was all about,” Laura explained. “I sometimes miss what’s happening now because I’m focusing on the future or the past. Where is the balance?” Laura asked.
“What is balance? And how do you know when things are in balance?” I asked.
“Balance is when both sides are equal,” she said. “When things are in balance life feels smooth,” Laura said.
“Can you give me an example of when you focus too much on the future and feel out of balance?” I asked.
“The other day at work I met with our fundraising team. Our attention was focused on the future as we brainstormed, strategized and planned the campaign.”
“What would you have noticed if you would have been in the now?” I asked.
“Even though our attention was focused on the future, I remember enjoying the work session. The team hovered around a white board, an easel and a calendar all working together. There was a smooth flow to our work.”
“It sounds like you were also in the now,” I added as she nodded. “Give me an example of when you focus too much on the past,” I said.
“Raising the kids seems to be very much in the past. I spend a lot of time looking back remembering,” Laura said. “When they were young, people warned me that it would go really fast … and it has,” Laura said.
“So your parenting time feels more in the past,” I said to clarify.
“Yes,” she said, “but just the other day, as I sat watching my daughter in her high school play, I was amazed at what a beautiful young woman she has become. I remember being completely absorbed and in the moment.”
“So your parenting time is both in the past and you can also be in the now, right?” I said and she nodded.
“Since you’ve been here today, where has your focus been?” I asked.
“My mind has mostly been in the past, thinking about answers to your questions,” Laura responded. “But I have also been present with you, enjoying our conversation.”
“Right now, do things feel ‘in balance’?” I asked.
“Today feels smooth and in balance,” she said. “I have spent time in the present, the past and in the future.”
“What does it feel like when it’s ‘out of balance’?”
“Life feels out of balance when I find myself focusing too much on the past or the future. When this happens, it feels like I’m not living my life. It feels empty.”
“So feeling empty might be a red flag for you to help you focus on being present,” I suggested. “How else could you proactively stay in the present?”
“I could set my watch to go off every hour. When it beeps, I’ll take inventory of where I am to help me stay in the moment,” Laura said.
“That sounds like a great strategy,” I said.
Laura added, “What I’ve also realized is that I bounce back and forth between the past, the present and the future in many situations. Maybe the real balance is to be aware of the shift between the three and to keep it in balance.”
Coaching Challenge: Find a way this week to remind yourself to be present. You can set an alarm, time it with another regular activity, or find a way to regularly build it into your schedule. Consciously ask yourself, “Where am I now?” In answering, take a deep breath and become fully aware of what you are doing, how you feel, and what’s going on around you? What do you hear, feel, see, etc.? Enjoy being in the now and look for more ways to be in the moment.
Sheri Fisher is a Life Coach who lives in Grand Junction. Her practice, Living On Purpose, focuses on personal and professional coaching. The situations and characters in her column are fictional to maintain client confidentiality. If you have topic suggestions, e-mail or comment on Sheri’s blog, http://www.coachwithsheri.com/blog. Sheri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information, visit: http://www.coachwithsheri.com.
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