I seem to spend a great deal of time working with people who actively resist being in the present moment. Often much of their behaviour is unconscious, worrying about what might potentially be coming their way or what they might miss. Many of us seem to have lost the ability to consider the moment we are in, to savour and enjoy where we are just now. All we have is this very moment, nothing more is certain for any of us. Sometimes we can look back on something that had been an intense source of worry, only to be amused at how little it really counted in the whole scheme of life so far.
Of course, my whole professional life is based on the consideration of what the past has brought forward. How we often carry hard childhood messages forward to adult life. I am aware of the need to understand erroneous messages and where they come from, but only to be able to put them to rest. Then we must consider where we are now, see it perhaps as a stepping off point, and begin to build the life we desire whilst enjoying the moment we are in.
It would seem that our brains are becoming more and more wired to consider the ‘what if’ rather than considering the ‘what is’. We have our mobile phones near to hand delivering emails and texts at a steady rate. How many times in a restaurant can you see phones on the table, its owner with half an eye on what might come through? I often wonder what conversations they are missing out on around the table, and indeed how others feel not to have been given the undivided attention they might expect when sitting down to share a meal.
While ruminating on this, a dear client, admittedly a high achiever, said that it was good to have all this at her fingertips for when she got bored. Absolutely, when you are sitting in a seminar and not feeling you are gaining any value from the speaker, it makes sense not to waste any time. But how, we discussed, will any of us know when it might have become interesting when we had figuratively already left the building. Remember the book you struggled to get into in the first few pages and then suddenly realised you could not put it down?
If we teach ourselves to only engage with what is immediately appealing, do we risk creating an environment where the onus is on us all to be instantly engaging and interesting within the first few moments of contact with someone? And, oh dear, the outcome of not remaining entertaining! Surely this high expectation will be a target that will elude many and may encourage people to feel overwhelmed and retreat even further from older social interaction skills.
I am a fan of social media and believe it makes us all so much more accessible to each other, and where would we all be without email and texting? I can only wonder at how we all managed before. But we must always check our motives for being overly engaged in conversing too exclusively in this way. What might we be missing in this very moment?