by Annette Bridges

Made New Year resolutions you hope to accomplish? Goals you want to meet before another year passes? Starting instead with the present moment may set you on a path to reach your aspirations.

I think I’ve spent most of my life looking to the future to provide answers, opportunities, realized dreams. But no longer. Today, I have a new approach to how I want to live my life. It’s one that begins with moments, improves moments, and considers present possibilities – right now. I no longer want to put off for tomorrow what could be done today, said today, experienced today.

Mary Baker Eddy, author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, has provided some instructive and helpful ideas on living in the present. There are two paragraphs taken from different articles she wrote that I have found especially helpful.

The first is from an article entitled “Improve Your Time:”

“Success in life depends upon persistent effort, upon the improvement of moments more than upon any other one thing. A great amount of time is consumed in talking nothing, doing nothing, and indecision as to what one should do. If one would be successful in the future, let him make the most of the present.” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883 – 1896)

The second is from “Now and Then:”

“This was an emphatic rule of St. Paul: “Behold, now is the accepted time.” A lost opportunity is the greatest of losses. Whittier mourned it as what “might have been.” We own no past, future, we possess only now. If the reliable now is carelessly lost in speaking or in acting, it comes not back again. Whatever needs to be done which cannot be done now, God prepares the way for doing; while that which can be done now, but is not, increases our indebtedness to God. Faith in divine Love supplies the ever-present help and now, and gives the power to “act in the living present.”” (Christian Science Sentinel May Vol.5)

So, I’m making now the focus of my life and here are a few of the ways it’s working:

  • Unhappy with my current old home, unable to build a new house right now, I’ve begun improvements to make my home the best it can be. I’ve found present possibilities that showed me I don’t have to wait to build a new house to be happy where I live.
  • I’m using money more productively today and finding ways to benefit others with it, too, rather than allowing thoughts of retirement, savings and children’s inheritance to dominate my life.
  • Instead of constantly trying to loose pounds, now each day I’m focusing on achieving the balance and physical activity needed in my life.
  • I’m taking time to read.
  • I’m allowing time for reflection and meditation.
  • I’m not missing opportunities to tell someone I love them.
  • I’m listening attentively when a friend calls.
  • And I’m taking breaks during the day to play with my puppy.

Living in the present has made me realize how many things I put off to do tomorrow which were never done. We own the now, this very moment. I don’t want to miss a moment of my life worrying about tomorrow. I think happiness is only found in the present moment and not in an uncertain future defined by possessions longed for or goals not yet reached. Making the decision to live my life in the now is already bringing contentment and peace of mind I never had before.

Originally published in January 2004. ©Annette Bridges. All rights reserved.