The Art of Living in the Present

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After my husband passed, a whirl of past and future danced in my mind. The sad movie of every memory we shared played endlessly: there he was on the night we met, the wildly handsome young man with a heavy mustache. Enchanting. Then we were waltzing on the dance floor of the restaurant he owned, stepping into our new home, toasting across the dinner table, and cradling our baby daughter. My heart was anywhere but in the present, oscillating between painful “what ifs” and still more painful “if onlys.” Doubt weighed down the hours.

With time I realized that I had to release my sadness and reclaim my joy, and that I could do this only by detaching from what happened or might happen and diving into what was happening then and there. Being in tune with time is an art, a true skill. As with anything else, it requires self-mastery. But its rewards are invaluable: peace of mind and greater understanding. After all, you exist in this very moment, not one hour ago or in two weeks from now. If you’re having trouble remaining in the present, take these seven actions to help return you to right now:

Don’t try to escape the moment

Your present may involve much struggle and confusion, but trying to evade the situation won’t help you resolve it. Accept what’s happening with a calm mind and courageous heart. “Fighting the tide” will cause you to sink. Relinquish your resistance and fear; such emotions prolong your problems. You will be surprised at how powerful you’ll prove to be against the things that scare you the most. Your obligation to be present holds true through both good and bad, so stand tall and face each moment.

Embrace your pain

It’s okay to feel pain; it’s as much a part of life as every other emotion. Many people are afraid to hurt because they forget that suffering actually makes them stronger. Let your pain come and go, allowing it to run its course with no hesitation. Cry if you’re upset. Yell and beat a pillow if you’re angry. Pain is your most powerful emotion, in fact, since it strikes more deeply than other feelings. Pain fortifies you, each time with a new coat of endurance. Harness its full force by utilizing the creativity, ingenuity, and resourcefulness that come along with feeling hurt. After pain subsides, resilience resurfaces.

Ground yourself

Refocus on the present when you feel yourself getting carried away by yesterday’s sorrows or tomorrow’s anxieties. Sit or stand with your feet planted firmly into the ground and clear your mind. If possible, stand outside barefoot and allow the energy from the earth to rise through you. Place your hands on something (a table, wall, tree, etc.). Concentrate on how that object feels, its surface, size, and texture. Run your palms across it. Inhale deeply and notice what you smell in the air: plants, food, a candle? What do you hear: the TV, birds, kids playing? What do you taste on your tongue? Immerse your five senses in your surroundings to reel yourself back into the present. Understand that you need to be in no other place than where you are now.

Project a better future

No matter what you’re going through, you can always choose to envision a more positive future. This helps you feel in control of what’s to come instead of feeling anxious about it. Allow yourself to daydream, imagining the best possible outcome for your efforts and the most favorable resolution to your problems. Also perform actions that are reflective of the good things you’re planning. If you have an upcoming interview, for example, buy yourself a brand new outfit in which you feel sharp and confident. Your mind is a magnet for the outside world, steadily pulling in your thoughts. Preparing for blessings to come increases their likelihood. As I like to say, reality reflects what the mind projects.

Remember what didn’t go wrong

We’re quick to obsess over the bad and hesitant to admit the good. This causes a disproportion in our thoughts, placing emphasis on the heavy, fearful ones. Remind yourself of all the times you were divinely protected and spared from something truly bad. This will break the pattern of fretting over the future. You are the architect of your life and can influence its direction entirely once you’ve learned to calm your mind and control your thoughts.

Welcome new joys

After my husband passed, I felt guilty when I wasn’t sad; it almost felt wrong to be happy without him. But I reminded myself that he wouldn’t want me to suffer, and slowly I reintegrated new reasons to be content. Allow happiness to return to you in new forms. Never put conditions on being in good spirits or having continued faith. Even if you’re experiencing health issues or financial burdens, you have many other sources of fulfillment. The ability to multiply and expand your happiness is entirely yours because joy is your birthright.

Make necessary changes

Change forces you to pay attention, remain present, and take action. There’s no better feeling after a difficult experience than a shift in scenery and environment. Don’t be afraid to make the improvements you’ve been putting off: move to a new location, get a better job, make different friends, and so on. Staying stuck in the same circumstances will leave you constantly reverting to the past. But seeking exciting possibilities and hopeful opportunities will teach you to honor this precious moment in time.

Living in the present may not always be easy to do, but it will restore elements of incredible well-being. Integrate my seven tips above to embrace all of life’s moments and rediscover your joy right now.

To living in the present,

Dr. Carmen Harra

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About Author

Carmen Harra is an internationally acclaimed intuitive psychologist, author, relationship coach, spiritual teacher, and karmic counselor. Born in Transylvania, Romania, Carmen's gift of otherworldly sight became apparent from a young age: at just five years old, Carmen drowned in a river near her home. Her father rescued her seconds from death, but she had already gotten a glimpse of the world beyond our own. While unconscious, Carmen recalls being transported through a white light and emerging into a picturesque setting of green valleys and silent streams. Several beings in white robes approached her, and told her to go back. It wasn't her time, they said. Carmen returned to the normal world, but not without an added talent. Growing up, Carmen worried her parents with her incredibly accurate visions, her larger-than-life predictions. "Life is all about creating a vision for yourself," says Carmen. "That's what predictions are--visions that are part destiny and part free will. When I make a prediction for someone, I expand their self-vision. I give them the hope that something is possible. Then, they take that hope and manifest it into reality." In her teens, Carmen began touring throughout Europe as a singing sensation. She released twelve albums which all became instant hits. She was first invited to visit America on a singing contract, but knew she was meant to stay forever. Just days before her trip, Carmen's father passed away unexpectedly. At his funeral, his spirit appeared to Carmen and told her to look at the name printed behind his grave. The tombstone read Virgil. "When you go to America, you will meet this man," his spirit told her. After her first performance in the New York, a man walked up to Carmen and introduced himself as Virgil. The two became instantly inseparable. As part of her own personal transformation, Carmen reinvented her career and began offering sessions as an intuitive counselor. Carmen also opted to expand her metaphysical skills and earned Ph.D.'s in Hypnotherapy and Alternative Healing. She combined her intuitive abilities with knowledge of cognitive therapy--something that had never been done before--and also earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Carmen began writing her first book, Everyday Karma, which has been translated into over 20 languages. Since the start of her illustrious career, Carmen has been featured in numerous publications such as: New York Times, New York Post, New York Daily News, The Hollywood Reporter, Vogue, New York Magazine, US Weekly, V Magazine, Elle Magazine, and so on. She has been invited on countless TV programs like: Good Morning America, The View, Fox News, the Today show, CBS' The Early Show, What's the Buzz, Telemundo, America Vive, Good Day New York, the 10! show, The Strategy Room, BetterTV, Nightly News with Chuck Scarborough, Happy Hour on ProTV International, and many more. Carmen has also designed her own line of jewelry for QVC. Carmen is the author of the international best-seller, Everyday Karma, and five more critically acclaimed books: Decoding Your Destiny, Signs, Symbols and Secrets, The Trinity of Health, The Eleven Eternal Principles, and Wholeliness. Her seventh book, The Karma Queens' Guide to Relationships, will be released by Penguin Books in the spring of 2015. Over the last ten years, Carmen has hosted her own radio shows on Sirius Satellite, HealthyLife Network, Contact Talk Radio, BlogTalk Radio, and Hay House Radio. Carmen has been fortunate to meet and coach the elite of Hollywood and eminent politicians, including Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, Gabourey Sidibe, Shirley Maclaine, Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Nancy Pelosi, Candice Bergen, Jennifer Lopez, Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Affleck, Liza Minnelli, Kathy Najimi, Ann Curry, Deepak Chopra, Caroline Rhea, Jerry Springer, Denise Rich, Courtney Cox, etc. Carmen is a co-chair in the Vital Voices Global Partnership led by Hillary Clinton, a delegate member of the Women in the World Foundation, an honorary member of the Alliance for a New Humanity founded by Al Gore and Deepak Chopra, and a member of the Clinton Foundation founded by Bill Clinton.

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