Focus on the Present – Do You Remember What ‘Now’ Feels Like For You?

No less than Abraham Maslow said, “The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.”

Here are some words associated with the present (in case you aren’t quite sure what that means): immediate, this instant, here and now, time being, today, nowadays, moment, now, in this moment, current… I don’t want to get too philosophical (far be it from me), but this moment is over… and we’re on to the next one. Oops that one is over. Next…oh, it’s over, too. Well, here comes another.

The present really is PRESENT – right now. This minute. Today. You can certainly expand it just a bit, but the gist of this is that many of us are missing a great deal of what is happening now because we are focused beyond or around and behind what is happening now.

Let’s get a few visuals for this concept – and use these to be reminded of some of your own.

  • First, think about when you have been at a party and you are talking with someone, but that person is forever looking beyond you, over your shoulder, to the back of himself, or essentially any other place but right into your eyes. How do you feel when that happens? Not too great. Of course, if we are doing that to someone else, they aren’t feeling very important and we are missing whatever it is that he or she is saying and the entire experience of that conversation.
  • A personal one occurred for me one morning several years ago when I was driving from Tonopah, NV to Goldfield, NV. It was about 6 a.m. I was not in a good mood. I was tired because my room had been noisy. I had eaten a dreadful breakfast. I was driving about an hour to the location for the workshop I was going to do and I knew that the conditions for this workshop were not going to be ideal…and I was worried about that. So, I was just generally grousing around in my head. But, then, I came around a corner and experienced what I have since found a name for – and that is aesthetic arrest. The beauty and majesty of this valley in these early morning hours – well, I don’t have the language to describe it. But I experienced an in-the-moment, moment. I was brought right back to NOW through that experience and everything else faded away.
  • One more example…and this is back when I was a professor. Now, as many of you know, I don’t have children and that’s by choice so you don’t need to feel sad for me. Anyway, I had been presenting at a conference in Louisville, traveled to Lexington to see my family and stayed at my brother’s house. At that time, he and his wife had three young children – maybe 7, 6 and 4. I had taken a bunch of work to do with me while I was there…because of course, I always had work to do being a faculty member. Alas…it was not to be. Here’s how I went back and told my graduate classes at the university about it the next week. I told them, “I get it. Those of you who say that you are having trouble finding time to study or to get your research done – and it’s because of your children. I get it. They demand, in the most positive way, attention now and as a human being, you happily give it to them.” So that was another, NOW experience for me.

I hope these make sense and help to illustrate the ‘present’ for you. Take some time right now (in the PRESENT) to see remember some of the times when you were ‘knocked back to now’ – and really understood about the present. I have no doubt but that you can come up with several.

Finding Dory & the Present Moment Tips

My 5 year old was exited to watch the movie Finding Dory. The movie is wonderful and my son enjoyed it thoroughly. He was literally standing up for few of the scenes. You can read a lot more about the movie plot on wikipedia

At the end of the movie I asked my Son what was the take away message from the movie. He said “We can find your way back following the shells”. This perspective coming from a 5 year old was a moment to pause, cherish and enjoy it. For me finding the path back and the entire movie, In addition to being entertaining, had some wholesome guidance to swim through life too. One of the key lessons was the Power of being present in the moment opens up life’s infinite wisdom to work through us.

It starts with “I remember something important “.. In Dory’s case her disability of forgetting everything and having no memory of the past in a way sparks the paradoxical thought of duality – Is this a blessing or a curse? A blessing because she is not limited by past belief systems and bane because she might not be able to care for herself as normally one would. Now from some deep corner of her mind she “remembers something important “. This starts off the faint stirrings of desire to find the source of the call. She remembers she has a family and desires to find them. In our evolution of self awareness this remembering is the call from the divine source. It exists and it calls. How do we hear it? It is not necessary to lose our memory and have the same disability that Dory suffers to hear it. Most of us are blessed to have a sharp memory and ability to use the past clues to navigate through life’s ocean. The flip side of this sharp memory is that sometimes we get stuck with the preconceived ideas and conditioning of the past. We limit ourselves and find excuses not to desire and trace our path back to the source. Whether we like it or not we all have to go back to the source we originated from.

How do we take the first step? By creating and simulating the state which Dory is in. Her state is that of complete awareness of the present moment. She is fully alive in the Now. Her every instant/moment is just that “the only moment there is”. For her nothing of the past exists – it is all new/fresh and open ended for life’s inspiration and guidance to work without any baggage of the past. We can be in that moment by suspending our intense attachment to the past thoughts. By being mindful of this state we can hear the faint call of beckoning from the source. This is the first step that starts us on our way to re-discovering what our souls have forgotten

And after the call?- We have to make a Will and get on the quest. The return journey has to begin. There will be times when we will be facing the most difficult obstacles. A t times even our loved ones might stand in our way and we would want to give up and give in to living a life not aligned with our true calling. In Dory’s case Marlin’s words are one of the obstacles she has to surmount and forge ahead.

During the journey – As you overcame the very first hurdles you know deep inside that you will not be stopping along the way come. When you have made up your will and set the source help starts appearing. Most often help starts showing up when you least expect it- Hank appears for Dory and he is with her all through to the very end. The ability to be mindful of the present moment allows us to see from a perspective which is limitless and through time and space. I particularly like the Dr Quantum cartoon of flat lands Dr Quantum – Flatland. When you see from a different perspective the paths that were not visibly before are now clearly visible.

Not withstanding the clarity you get and the help you receive, there will be times when others try to grab you. They want to hold you to themselves for their own comfort and well being. At times you are held on to so as to condition you to match their expectations. – This happens to Dory & Hank in the “touch pool” many hands try to grab Hank and Dory to hold them. During such times we should take the que from Dory- Swim & swim really fast. We too might have to run and run fast to avoid being captured in the trap of limitations created by other peoples thoughts & beliefs

Another lesson – this time from Marlin & Nemo- Along life’s journey some of the early detractors might come back to help us on our journey to find the source. Maybe sometimes we have been the detractors to others when they have been on their path to reach certain goals. When we have an intense desire to help it is important not to think with our limited thoughts. It is vital to ask the pertinent question “what would Dory Do?” Not what I would do, with my present belief systems and conditioning. A complete drop of our preconceived ideas of help and thinking can open the door to be of any value to others. Most often our help can be in the form of Being there for the other person without judgement

Finally – Life’s insights and guidance will continue leading us along the paths towards the source. It is vital to our journey to remember that the source has called us back, call is not the end of it. It has also prepared the way. In Dory’s case her parents have been waiting and preparing for her return. The shells are all laid out from the core extending outwards in all directions. When we get closer we start seeing the way back more vividly and brightly. As we become alert we start seeing shells marking our way back and acting as lighted paths. If we keep following life’s guidance and the markers we will surely arrive at the source. Life’s infinite wisdom, guidance and markers all exist, its just that we have not found them yet. When we arrive the joy of the re-union can only be experienced and not described I suppose.

A few questions that could help:-
1. Are we present, mindful & still enough Now to hear the call of what life’s purpose for us is? “Do we remember something important?
2. Do we have the Will to really listen to the call and go after it?
3. Can we let go of our past conditioning and pre-conceived ideas of how things should work and embrace change and uncertainty?
4. Do we have what it takes to tackle difficulties and obstacles – Are we prepared enough to trust in life’s infinite wisdom and guidance that it will help us in our return. Can we swim and swim fast?

Movie Plot @ ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finding_Dory
Dr Quantum Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWyTxCsIXE4

Web Site Can Be Made More Presentable

Your website works as your spokesperson presenting the message you wish to convey. Thinking in terms of this analogy often helps you to look at your website from a different angle and make visitor-friendly changes.

Imagine a situation – you have to make an announcement about an exciting event or an opportunity. You have appointed a spokesperson to make a presentation on your behalf to an audience consisting of invitees, interested persons and on-lookers. How would you like her to perform? Your website should do the job of a real, living spokesperson. Following considerations will make your website more presentable.

1) Main Theme – The presentation in the above example has been organized for a particular occasion. Similarly each webpage should be built around a particular theme. It doesn’t help if too much information is given on a webpage on seemingly unrelated issues.

2) Fast Opening – You would certainly not like your spokesperson to be late and make your audience impatient. When a visitor clicks URL of your webpage or is redirected there, the webpage should open real fast. Your webpage gets just a few seconds to engage your visitor’s attention. You would like your visitors to spend those few seconds looking at your webpage rather than waiting for the webpage to open.

3) Appearance – The spokesperson should have pleasant appearance and should wear a welcoming smile. This is to ensure that the audience is not put off even before start of the presentation. Your webpage should have a pleasant, inviting appearance to attract your visitor. If spokesperson is very gorgeous looking, she will distract attention of the audience from the real issue. Your website should avoid loud graphics and distracting colors so that the visitor remains focused on the main theme.

4) Make Text Interesting – You would like your spokesperson to use clear, flowing language, keep the audience interested and gradually lead them to the main theme. The presentation should be interactive, made lively by stories, snippets etc. Monotonous speech should be avoided. All these ideas can be incorporated while designing the website. The text should be broken into small paragraphs of 4-5 sentences or less, subtitles should be added for clarity, key words should be made bold. These are some ideas to make text more readable. Often a visitor will see only titles and subtitles. Therefore on their own the title and subtitles should convey the basic message.

5) Highlight Benefits – Other methods can be used to make the audience interested. The audience is really interested in what benefits they will derive; therefore this point should be highlighted sufficiently. The visitor to a website is interested in what is there for her. The potential benefits to the visitors should form a part of the main theme. This is an important consideration and cannot be over-emphasized.

6) Free gifts or Bonus – The audience attending the conference can be given gifts – after all they are investing there time for the presentation. The website can also offer several incentives to the visitors and lure her to visit again and again. Free ebooks, subscription to newsletters, links to related resources, articles and additional information are some of the simplest incentives that can be offered to the visitor.

7) Anticipate Questions – When a question is put up to the spokesperson, she should accept it with understanding showing that she had been expecting the question and was prepared to answer it. This approach will re-assure the audience as they develop the feeling that “everything has been taken care of”. While designing a website anticipated questions should be compiled and answers should be provided. It may be helpful to provide separate pages displaying common questions and answers.

8) Testimonials – After the end of the presentation, very few people are likely to sign-up immediately. Those who are still interested after the presentation would like to take some time to decide. They are likely to seek additional information and confirmation of the information already provided. The spokesperson should clearly spell out how easy it would be to get any further information. Visitors to the website often re-visit several times before they take any decision, particularly the decisions involving money transaction. Testimonials and endorsements appearing on the website are very effective in getting a favorable response from the visitors.

9) Follow-Up – During a presentation it is common practice to register the names and other details of the participants. This information can be used to follow-up with them by sending further messages. The website should be used to perform a very important function of capturing names and e-mail addresses of interested persons for following-up with them.

Thinking of website as a spokesperson adds a human dimension with which we are more familiar. Reviewing your website from a new angle can reveal ways of improving it.