I’m laughing at myself as I write this note, because I’m fidgeting around at my desk having a decidedly not-in-the-moment moment as I attempt to direct you to this month’s story on how to be more present in your life. I’ll take a break and read the piece once more.

On my mind this month
  • The important political activist organization Mothers Acting Up (www.mothersactingup.org) has its 2006 calendar out, just in time for the holidays.
  • Spend a night out with a fun group of friends. I recently felt completely refreshed after dining and laughing for four hours with six smart, funny women.
  • Stay healthy this winter by remembering to hydrate.

In the Moment” is especially useful for me, for often I feel distracted by work or relationship stresses during the time I spend with my daughter. It’s hard to make the transition from work to home. I rarely get a buffer time to regroup, and rarer still is time alone that helps me to rejuvenate. Yet her days as a preschooler are precious and much more important than anything else going on in my life. When I find myself preoccupied and notice she’s had to ask me several times for something (thank goodness for her patience), I take a moment, take a deep breath, and remind myself to “be here now.” It works. She and I then have more present time together.

One of my yoga instructors once mentioned the importance of teaching such techniques to our children as they grow up. When my daughter is wound up with emotion, I’ll often tell her to take a deep breath. Take two deep breaths. We’ll do this together, chest to chest, as I hold her in my arms. It gives her focus and calms her down. We then deal with her concern more effectively.

I have a tendency to try to fit a lot of things into each moment. That’s my personality. If I have 15 minutes before I need to be somewhere, I’ll think that means I have time to jam in at least three more tasks. About a year ago, while running around with an unrealistically long list of things to accomplish prior to the holidays, I made a decision to stress less during these bouts of overactivity. After all, I was in charge of my own schedule. I just needed to be more present, even as I was running around. Since then, when I start to feel stressed, I remind myself that my high level of activity is my choice. And I enjoy it—as long as I remember to take a moment, let it all in, and breathe.

Jean Weiss