"I recently wrote a post called, "How to Stop Waiting: Lessons from a Self-Help Junkie," in which I reviewed the very inspiring and easy-to-relate-to book by Kristen Moeller, "Waiting for Jack: Confessions of a Self-Help Junkie." (For those of you who haven't yet picked up a copy, it's worth it. Great read.) In that post, I talked about my experience with the book and, of course, Kristen's own experience with waiting on the next self-help fad to save her. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview Kristen and gather some of her thoughts on living in the present moment, as well as her suggestions on living a more positive life. Here's what Kristen had to say...
Why is it so important to live in the present moment?
Before the book The Power of Now there was The Precious Present. I first heard the message of this book in 1989 while in treatment for the second time. It tells a story… it rocked my world. I didn’t live in the present and I wasn’t even present to this fact. The present moment is the only moment that really exists. The past becomes a memory, the future is only a thought—all we have is now. Life happens now and now and now. If we aren’t present, we miss the real gifts of life that are happening right now.
How does living in the present impact your life on a daily basis?
Living in the present reminds me of what is most important to me. My life is quite full and I can easily get caught up in the details and miss the beauty. Earlier today, a bellowing thunderstorm settled in around my house. What matters to me is taking a break from my work and comforting my 95 pound dog who shivered with fear at each thunder crash. What matters to me is stopping to breathe; taking time to comfort a friend; not just listening to but hearing my favorite band. These are thing things I will remember at the end of the day or the end of my life—not how many emails I answered or bills I paid.
What has changed for you since you stopped waiting?
Sometimes I still do wait—but I have shown myself the power of simple actions. When I grabbed the $100 bill out of Jack Canfield’s hand, I altered my life forever. I didn’t realize this at the time. I knew I was taking bold action. Now I consciously remind myself that the simple action I take today can lead to a miracle tomorrow. We never know. The point is to keep moving forward, keep stretching, growing and being willing to go for it.
How has living in the now made your life more positive?
The sweetest thing in the world is to fully soak up the lusciousness of the present moment. We may not like some moments and with others’ we may be more inclined to absorb them—but true life is in the richness of the moment. No matter how difficult a moment is, there is something to appreciate. The only “problem” with any moment is our resistance to it. When I remember this, I have the keys to the kingdom.
What advice would you offer for living in the present moment?
The advice I offer is to keep returning to the present moment. We will constantly drift from it. We will plan, worry, regret. In milder ways, we will drift, we will daydream, and we will go on auto-pilot. Just keep returning to the present. Attempt to have at least one thing a day that you totally take in. Absorb it, sense it fully consciously do this. Right now, the rain is falling on the metal roof of my house. A moment ago, I stopped and truly listened. I closed my eyes and heard the sounds. The thunder crashing, the rain falling. Tomorrow I will be able to recall it clearly. Many times we go through a day on auto-pilot and cannot remember anything with clear detail. Each day, choose at least one thing to fully experience. Then you know you are really alive.
I'm very thankful that Kristen was able to share her answers to these questions and provide me (and you!) with some insights about living a more positive and present life. Like so many of us interested in personal development and trying to make our lives the best they can possibly be, Kristen was sucked into waiting, to searching for the next thing that would be the one thing to save her. You can read more about Kristen's journey (and my own journey of reading her work) in the post "How To Stop Waiting: Lessons from a Self-Help Junkie."