If you have been keeping up with my work, you know how much emphasis I place on the importance of being present, and you may be wondering… why?

In this article, we will explore the most common places people go, the importance of being present and how you can directly choose to enter the moment anytime, anywhere.

So let’s get started…

Through my personal and professional experience, I have discovered that there are many places we can go but the 6 most common places are as follows.

(Please note that these are general indications, even a version of each description could be indicative of where you reside.)

Present: If you are in the present, you will feel completely here in your place of power, capable and able to “bring it” to and receive from your life- that nice balance. This does not mean that you will only experience the so called positive thoughts, feelings, and emotions here, in fact, often when we are present many of our “issues” rise to the surface but it is important to realize that they are coming up in order to be addressed in a new and different way with our power and authority in order to learn from, let go of, grow through and transform them.

Past: If you are in the past, you will feel stuck, frustrated, guilty, angry, bitter, resentful and have a tendency toward depression. You may be fixated on changing the past or you may replay a past experience over and over again unable to let it go. You may also think thoughts like, “If I could have, would have or should have done this or that.”

Future: If you are in the future, you will have a tendency toward anxiety and feelings of nervousness and overwhelm. You will always be two steps ahead, over thinking, worrying, and obsessing about what could happen or what could be as you think of future events.

Checked Out: If you are checked out, you will check out into something as a means of escape, for example, food, drugs, alcohol, exercise, social scenes, affairs, etc. This pattern is associated with addiction.

Limbo: If you are in limbo, you are just going through the motions, apathetic, resigned, unmotivated and stuck in indecision. You will feel somewhat lifeless and out of touch.

Lost: If you are lost, it means that no one is home. The harder you try to get out of it, the deeper you get caught up in it. Here, you can’t find your way out.

As noted previously these are general indications, most people go between two or three of these places, but you can only be in one place at a time, so for the purpose of this article and the exercise below, I would like you to identify where you are now.

THE FIRST STEP is to reflect and identify where you are now. If you are struggling to identify where you are, you may find it helpful to place your hand on your heart and simply ask, “where am I now?” Asking questions is one of the best tools to receive answers.

THE SECOND STEP is to place your hand on your heart and choose to enter the present moment by speaking from your diaphragm and saying, “I choose to return from (the past, the future, limbo, being checked out, being lost) to the present moment.” Repeat this affirmation until you feel a shift take place or your power return.

ONCE YOU ARE BACK keep your hand on your heart and reflect on what took you out of the moment? Was it a certain situation? Argument? Painful time or experience? Can you remember times when you were in the moment?

After looking at this chart and completing this exercise, you may be wondering why we would want to dwell anywhere but the present? Well, being in the present is like I said in last week’s article (found here), much like turning on the light where you finally open your eyes to all of the issues you buried and have been holding onto for so long. This can be overwhelming for people, and I applaud those of you that are daring and courageous enough to enter and stay in the moment, as I know, very well, how challenging it can be. However, the gifts you receive by being here in the moment and addressing each challenge as it comes your way are beyond comprehension, and I would not trade my presence, my being here, for anything, nada.

In fact, I believe it’s much more painful to stay stuck in a place where you don’t belong and where nothing, including your body and life can work for you. If you are not in the moment, you will not be able to break the patterns that hold you back, and you will continue to recycle the same experiences over and over again- insanity. In fact, when you choose not to address and clear the issues that stand in your way, everything becomes far more painful, to get your attention. In this way, your body and life, become nothing but a prop not the problem like an alarm clock that increases in volume, from a gentle nudge to a shriek if you ignore it as it begs you to wake up.

I know exactly what it’s like to live outside the moment, I did it for a very long time, escaping the present, hiding in the future, going through the motions, you name it, nothing was working in my body and life. There came a time when it became so painful I couldn’t bear it any longer. This is when the pain became my motivation to change. I remember the days when I used to lie in bed at night, knowing that there was something more, something waiting for me. Little did I know that the something waiting for me, lied within me, and all I had to do was choose it.

Many of the people I work with, including myself, have created disease in their bodies and/ or shock in their lives as a check point to bring them back to reality, back to the present- where their bodies and lives can finally work for them again. I teach my patients how to take these challenges and transform them into opportunities for growth and development.

This may sound optimistic, but it’s actually just the truth- new realizations can change your perception, and a change in perception can directly change your reality, through a trickle down effect as your new perception influences and ripples through your thoughts, feelings and choices. Your thoughts, feelings and choices then continue on to create a new reality for your body and life. However, you cannot be receptive to these new realizations, the process and all that life has to offer, if you are not present. You must be here in order to receive the gifts you are given and exercise your ability to change the way you interpret the world around you.

I want to make something else very clear, the gifts I speak of, have nothing to do with beach houses, fancy cars, and dollar signs, even though I am not opposed to any of these luxuries- in fact, I enjoy all three. The gifts I speak of, however, are beyond the offerings of the material world, and they can only be found within. These gifts look more like intuition, connection, compassion, peace, happiness, health, freedom, faith, truth, and unconditional love- just to name a few. The further you go along this journey and the more you uncover, the more gifts you will receive- even if your motives are not as pure at first.

We all start in different ways, through many entry points, for different reasons.

Some of us kick off our journey through church, yoga, meditation or a paleo diet to meet new friends, lose weight, make more money, optimize sleep or fall in love! The point is this- it doesn’t matter how you start, what matters is that you realize you want something different, new experiences, change, solutions, answers and growth.

I’m assuming if you’ve found your way to this article, you are already open minded, and you have a true desire to learn, improve, and live a very full and vibrant life- which is exactly what I want for you as well.

I’ll leave you with this- being present along this journey is not always “easy” or “fun”, but now that I know this way exists, I wouldn’t trade it for the world because it is the only way I know how to be truly and inexplicably alive.

If you can remember to stay present and receptive to all of what life has to offer, all of the pain and all of the beauty, as you connect to and address the issues that come your way, you will begin to see the hidden lessons and hear the messages, as you begin to experience the essence of what lies beneath the surface.

Let Go & Grow.