Being able to live in the moment is one of the most important skills we can build to live a joyful life.
It’s especially important right now, when uncertainty is at an all-time high. We don’t know when the pandemic will subside or when life will get back to normal. As a result, it’s all too easy to future-trip and feel anxious about the unknown.
Early in my sobriety, one of the mottos I learned in my recovery group was “One day at a time.” This is a motto that continues to resonate with me and guide my life. In this post, I talk about what it means to me to live in the moment and take life one day at a time.
Letting yourself live in the moment is a relief
When I was first getting sober, “One day at a time” was my mantra. It gave me solace because the idea of never picking up alcohol or drugs again felt overwhelming. I didn’t know how I was going to stay clean and sober. That’s why the concept of staying in the day was such a relief.
Remembering to take things one day at a time helped me center into the fact that I didn’t have to think about how I was going to handle a friend’s party the next week, or a big function five months away, or the idea of not having a drink at my wedding one day.
All I had to do was keep it in the day. Today was my only concern.
I loved that time. There was so much innocence and peace then because I was able to keep it in the day, focusing on every small, individual action right down to down to brushing my teeth. I stayed in the right now.
It was a really liberating feeling.
When life gets good, we forget to take it one day at a time
After a while of living in the day and being present, I realized that things had gotten pretty good. I got some recovery under my belt and “one day at a time” went right out the window!
Instead of staying in the day, I started future tripping. I was living a month at a time, a year at a time or a project at a time.
Many of us can relate to this feeling. We move so fast or get so caught up in our plans and goals that we can’t dwell in the day, much less the moment. Sometimes it seems like the only way we slow down is when tragedy strikes or we hit some kind of bottom.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Living in the moment can be a way of life
Taking things one day at a time doesn’t have to be reserved for when we’re recovering — whether from addiction, loss, trauma or anything else.
We can make “One day at a time” our mantra for life. Because the truth is, our presence is our power. And no matter how magnificent life can be, we still have an ego. The ego is always looking to assert itself; it’s always trying to take us out of the present moment by future tripping or obsessing over the past.
5 ways to live in the moment every day
Let’s all commit to taking things one day at a time, starting right now. Here are some simple practices you can use each day to center into the present.
1. Visualize your day
Here’s one way you can begin: Tomorrow morning, start your day with a vision of how you want the day to unfold. Picture yourself getting on the subway or in your car or on the bus, a smile on your face. Imagine walking into work ready to have a gracious experience and completing your tasks with ease. Imagine greeting your family or friends in the evening.
How do you want to feel? Allow yourself to cultivate the feelings you desire. Dwell in them, knowing it’s safe to feel good.
Hold this vision in the morning and remind yourself to stay in the day throughout the day.
And if a day is too much for you, just keep it in the moment. That can be really profound.
2. Surrender your plans to your inner guide
This is a beautiful practice if you find yourself future tripping or worrying about things that are out of your control. It comes from my book May Cause Miracles.
Begin the day with a surrender prayer. Offer up your plans to the care of your inner guide and state your willingness to listen. Get comfortable in your meditation space and place your palms facing upward — a symbol that you’re willing to receive guidance.
Take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. When you’re ready, read the following passage and then sit for one minute of stillness:
Today I surrender my plans, my will and my fears to the care of my inner guide. I accept that there is a greater plan for me than what my small mind may have had in store. Today I welcome the voice of love to come forward and guide me, teach me, and lead me to a happier state of mind so I can bring more light to the world.
3. Ask for guidance with an affirmation
This is another tip from May Cause Miracles. Use the following affirmation:
Inner guide, I welcome you to show me where to go, what to do and what to say.
State this affirmation throughout the day. Make it your mantra. When you reaffirm your desire to receive guidance and then pay attention, you will be amazed by what comes through!
4. Get grounded anywhere, anytime with a mantra
This is a simple Kundalini practice that you can literally use anywhere, anytime. I love the mantra, which is “Peace begins with me.” You can use this whenever you feel like you’ve been taken out of a peaceful, calm place. Watch below for my guidance:
5. Release judgment all day long
Another powerful affirmation that will help you live in the moment comes from my book Judgment Detox. This is one of the prayers in Step 3:
Today I will judge nothing that occurs.
These seven words are profound. When you say this prayer, you consciously choose to realign your thoughts with love and let the voice of your inner guide lead the way. The more you make this choice, the less you will judge. If judgment, resentment or attack thoughts take you out of the present, repeat this prayer and feel the relief it brings.
You can even set an alarm to go off on your phone throughout the day, labeling it with this prayer. Each time your phone buzzes, recite the prayer silently or out loud and trust that spirit will intervene to restore your thoughts back to love.
Ground yourself in a daily practice with May Cause Miracles
In my book May Cause Miracles, I guide you through a six-week program of adding up subtle shifts for radical change and unlimited happiness!
Each day contains different exercises to help you release fear and invite in spiritual guidance. Exercises like:
- Empowering affirmations and prayers
- Guided meditations to ground your intentions
- Morning and evening reflections to honor your feelings and celebrate your miracles
- Journaling exercises to let inspiration flow