Great coaches are trained to be fully present with clients. We are good at it. We know how to reduce distractions, quiet the mind, and put all of our attention on the client. But that doesn’t mean it is easy for us! There are times when it isn’t easy at all. Staying in the now takes practice.
This was never more true for me than these last several weeks as I spent time with my father. We knew that he wouldn’t be with us much longer and it was easy to get distracted with worry and fear. But Dad reminded me of a valuable lesson: you don’t know how many moments you have in life, so take the ones you have and live them fully.
There was a bittersweet freedom in knowing our time was limited. Eating Jell-O was a delight. Helping him sit up so he could read was another treasure. Every touch of my dad’s hands, his smile, and a look from those piercing blue eyes that never missed a thing were moments I cherished as they were happening.
Rather than dwelling on what was to come, or what I wanted desperately to control, Dad had the grace to show me, moment by moment, that there was joy to be had in our precious time together.
This was an extreme situation that warranted mindfulness and being fully present. It was a reminder that we can’t control the future or change the past—and that every moment we have opportunity to live our now fully and with appreciation.
Putting that into practice every day can be harder to do. Eckhart Tolle says:
“The moment you realize you are not present, you are present. Whenever you are able to observe your mind, you are no longer trapped in it. Another factor has come in, something that is not of the mind: the witnessing presence.”
That makes perfect sense—and it can be wildly difficult.
Here are three questions that may help you live for now, rather than for the past or the future:
- What am I feeling right now?
- What is happening right now?
- What joy can I find in this moment?
Thank you Dad, for such great life lessons.
About the Author
Patricia Overland is a Coaching Solutions Partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services team. Since 2000, Blanchard’s 150 coaches have worked with over 14,500 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services.