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Positively Speaking: In the moment

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By Toby Moore

For Capital Region Independent Media

Toby Moore

We are deep into the holiday season, and almost all of us are busier during the holidays than during the rest of the year: parties to attend, gifts to buy and people to visit. With all the tasks we’re already juggling, the holiday season can make it extra tricky to keep all the balls in the air!

If you look around this holiday season, you’ll notice some people can handle the extra workload with a smile, and others grit their teeth every step of the way.

Can we learn to become more graceful under pressure?

There’s a thing called “Living in the Moment.” I’m sure you’ve heard of it. I’ve heard the phrase a few million times, but I’ve only recently paid attention to what it means.

Living in the moment sounds so simple, I thought I was naturally doing it all along. How could we do anything but live in the moment? After all, we all live through a series of moments every day!

In the last couple of years, I took on a lot more responsibility than I was used to. As my workload increased, I reacted less gracefully than I would have liked. Although I was getting most everything done, I was constantly worried about what to do next. Always so afraid of not getting everything done that I couldn’t properly focus on the task at hand.

I was rushing through each task as fast as possible, unable to perform at my best, and simultaneously feeling stressed and anxious about everything and everyone else. My fearful thoughts turned to bitter thoughts as I mentally complained about those who I thought should be helping me but were not.

If you have a lot to accomplish, it’s only natural to plan, have a list of to-do’s, and try to accomplish as much as possible. If you are on a deadline and have commitments you must follow through on, it’s almost impossible not to nervously anticipate each moment and how it will all get done. It comes with the territory.

I used to think that ‘iving in the moment was the same as living for the moment. Living in the moment and living for the moment aren’t exactly the same, but they do share some qualities. Living for the moment is simply enjoying your life without caring about the future.

How is that different than “Living in the Moment?”

Living in the moment is accepting where you are, being aware of your emotions and thoughts, and allowing yourself to fully engage in the present moment without anticipation and worry for the next.

Self-help author Eckhart Tolle said, “Are you able to be present in what you’re doing, or is what you’re doing no more than a means to an end? And approaching every moment with the hurried attitude of just needing to get this moment out of the way so you can get to a better one?”

If you’re living in the moment, your focus is on what’s happening now. You aren’t thinking about what is for dinner or what you’ll wear to work tomorrow. You aren’t reliving moments from the past or being distracted and concerned about future events. You’re focused on what you should be doing in the present moment.

Some have asked if you can live in the moment and be a long-term planner? Is it OK to multi-task and live in the moment? The answer is yes and yes! 

If you have to multitask and perform several jobs simultaneously, you can do all that while staying in the moment. If you’re a long-term planner with a big vision, it can sometimes be a distraction to dream about the future. Staying in the moment can help you get the daily chores finished.

Living in the moment is especially useful when dealing with people during the holidays, helping you to treat everybody with dignity and respect.

Living in the moment is associated with less stress and better decision making, especially when combined with an attitude of acceptance and gratitude. Rather than letting the season’s stress ruin your holiday cheer, take a breath, accept, be thankful, and live in the moment.

Toby Moore is a columnist, the star of Emmy-nominated “A Separate Peace,” and the CEO of Cubestream Inc.

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