Be Present and Be Happier

Excerpted from the book: The Goddess of Happiness, A Down-to-Earth Guide for Heavenly Balance and Bliss by Debbie Gisonni

Have you ever watched what dogs do most of the day?
Basically, they lie around doing nothing. I’m always curious to know
what they’re thinking about, or if they’re thinking at all. Judging
by my dogs, I’m sure their thoughts have something to do with
their next meal, massage, or walk. We humans tend to spend a lot
of time thinking, particularly women who are masters at multitasking.
How many uniquely different things can you be thinking
of at one time? What to make for dinner, your child’s parent-teacher
conference, the dog’s vet appointment, a deadline at work, the paint
colors for the new bathroom? Scary, huh? We think about what has
already happened or what we assume might happen much more so
than what is happening right now. All this time spent in the past and
future leaves little or no time for the present, which is the only time
that matters.

It seems that something always has to go wrong in order to force
us to stop and be present. For example, when you have to drive your
car through a heavy snowstorm, you can’t help but pay attention to
every bump and slide. Normally, though, you’re driving in autopilot
while your mind is working overtime: “How late will this traffic
make me? I need to pick up Emily from her soccer game. What
am I making for dinner tonight?”

I have a beautiful, kind, loving, and generous friend who seems to
spend her whole life racing. In the twenty years since I’ve known
her, she’s always running late from one appointment to the next,
talking a mile a minute and putting out some sort of emotional fire
at the same time. Sometimes when I’m with her, I feel as if I’m in one
of those zany dreams where you keep jumping from one unrelated
scene to another, with no beginning and no end–just continuous
but different streams of consciousness. Meanwhile, I’m gripping the
bottom of my seat with sweat-drenched hands and wondering if
she’s going to step on the brake before crashing into the car stopped
in front of us. It’s not that I think she’s a bad driver. In fact, she’s
never had any accidents with me in the car (I can’t speak for anyone
else). It’s just that I know she’s not present. I’m sure her inner goddess
is constantly crying out, “Stop, look, and listen now,” and while
she might have heard this amid the clutter of her mind, she’s already
deleted that scene and moved on to a few others.

There will be times in your life where you rush to get to the next
thing–your job, your appointments, your partner, your house–
without any consideration or participation in the current thing,
whatever that might be. When you look back, life all becomes one
big blur of images, like sticking your head out the window of a
speeding car. You’re unable to clearly see anything, whether it’s right
next to you, in front, or behind.

Life is in its most perfect state when you are present in every
moment. Living in the past or future, as we often do, only serves
to drain your spirit. You can’t change what has happened, nor can
you worry about what hasn’t happened yet. So instead of living in
the land of “I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve” or “what if,” try living
in the land of “I am,” because now is the only moment a goddess can

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