by Coach Dave Kenson

I love presents! Doesn’t everyone?

Christmas, birthdays or no occasion at all; sometimes those are the best ones.  Even before you know what’s inside, there’s the ribbon, the wrapping paper and maybe a bow.  Some people carefully remove the paper; others tear through it like a tornado.  The excitement builds even before you actually open the box, bag or envelope.

And then, maybe it’s what you were really wanting or maybe it’s a total surprise, but it’s YOURS!  You didn’t have it before and now you do.  How can you not be happy?  How can you not be filled with joy?  WE GO THROUGH THE WRAPPING TO GET TO THE PRIZE INSIDE.

Presence is similar.  We have to go through the wrapping to get to the prize, only the wrapping is not fancy paper and ribbon.  It is all the unproductive and harmful thoughts that clutter our mind.  PRESENCE is living the moment; being in the NOW.  It is focused awareness on the present.  Presence is LIFE.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” — Neale Donald Walsch

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” – Mae West

“If you are not in the moment, you are either looking forward to uncertainty or back to pain and regret.” – Jim Carrey

Regret, guilt, worry and anxiety are parts of our cultural conditioning.  We are taught that these counterproductive thoughts are part of everyone’s make up.  They are, but only because we have been led to believe that they are.  They are NOT part of LIFE.  They actually keep us from really living life in the present moment, uncluttered by thoughts of the past or future.  It’s about being, not thinking.

Being in the present moment is actually experiencing reality and it is not our thoughts about reality.  They are not the same thing.  Our thoughts filter reality through all the beliefs, judgments and biases that have been programmed into us by our culture.

Reality is the awareness of “What Is”.  It’s when you are no longer sleepwalking through existence.  You are AWAKE!  I don’t mean “WOKE”.  Hell, I don’t even know what that means and neither do most of the people who use the word.

Now, if PRESENCE is “the present”, then what specifically is the wrapping that is in the way of getting to the prize?

“There are better things ahead than any we leave behind” – C.S. Lewis

“The past is a great place, and I don’t want to replace it or regret it, but I don’t want to be it’s prisoner either.” – Mick Jagger

“There is so much of life we miss when we wallow in regret” – Tony Bennett

“I never regret anything because every little detail of your life is what made you into who you are in the end.” – Drew Barrymore

There is a reason why the windshield is so much larger than the rearview mirror.  It’s to show us that we should spend a lot less time looking at what’s behind us and more time experiencing what is right in front of us.  Why do we think our eyes are on our face and not on the back of our head?

The wake behind the boat may tell us where have been, but it has nothing to do with moving forward or where we are going.  Too many people simply exist with their minds full of bad thoughts and bad feelings from comments, behaviors, and events that happened in the past.  These negative thoughts cannot only ruin our day, but if they persist, they can ruin our lives.

As Abraham Hicks said, “If it doesn’t feel good, it’s not going to feel any better by thinking about it longer.”  Guilt and regret are two of the lowest vibrational thoughts and feelings that a human being can have; and anger is no prize, either.  Forget the event, remember the lessons!

“Worrying is like rocking in a chair.  It’s something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” – Dr. Phil McGraw

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” – Mark Twain

“Worrying is a form of negative visualization that helps create the scenario you see happening in your mind.”  Joshua Medcalf

Worrying is a misuse of imagination.  Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s problems.  It takes away today’s peace.  It’s like praying for something that you don’t want.  When you send out a negative thought to the Universe, the Universe responds in kind with a negative result or event.

“Be here now.” – Ram Dass

“We are here, and it is now.” – H. L. Mencken

“Be where you are; otherwise you will miss your life.” – Buddha

What is our mission in life?  It’s to LIVE.  LIFE takes place in the present moment; the NOW.  PRESENCE is our mission; our GIFT once we tear away the wrapping of past regrets and future anxiety.  Being fully present involves awareness of what is and NOT what we think it should be.

Do you like stress?  Do you want more of it?  If yes, then keep using the words should and shouldn’t.  They are two of life’s greatest stressors because they involve the denial of reality; WHAT IS.  Do you know what exists in the present moment?  Happiness, gratitude, patience, and your life are the things that live in the NOW.  Learn to take as much time away from the rat race as possible.  Lily Tomlin said, “Even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.”

Uncommon Core Math (I made that up) says that if you are busy counting all your regrets and worries, you’ll be too busy to count your blessings.  Stop trying to multitask.  The goal of multitasking is to finish; not to do things well.  You can’t be great with divided attention.  “If you chase three rabbits, you catch none.” – Confucius

When you are NOT PRESENT, you are sleepwalking through your existence, and you believe that there are obstacles on your path.  When you live in the NOW you understand that the obstacles ARE THE PATH.  You can reconcile that this is life and even be happy about it because you’ve rid yourself of the destructive idea that “it shouldn’t be like this”.  In conclusion if your mission is to be happy, and mine is, learn to get negative past and future thoughts out of your mind.  The first step is understanding that YOU control your mind.  When should you begin?  NOW!

“When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down “HAPPY”.  They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon