ACT and The Present Moment

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  When will I finally get where I want to go?

A:  You are already here!

Dalai Lama Quote

The Dalai Lama said it well, didn’t he?  Well he would, wouldn’t he?

“Man lives as if  he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

Why?

Because we forget that the present moment is the only place where we can actually do our living.

ACT is very clear about this.  Life is always lived in the present moment.  We can’t go back and change the past, we can’t go forward and control the future.  Yes, reflecting on the past and planning for the future are valuable activities and helpful, most of the time, but we are in trouble when we fuse with the past or future and lose contact with the present.

So, if we spend our lives worrying about the future or living in the past as if they are really here, we have turned our back on the present moment.  If we spend our time planning and projecting a wonderful tomorrow or looking back with regret at better times now gone, we have turned our back on the present moment.  This is not good news!  Each time we do this our opportunity to live well in the present is lost; and many of us do this a lot!

Sometimes too, we can become so dazzled by the idea of better times ahead that we don’t bother much with the present moment.  It doesn’t seem to measure up so we disregard it.  We are so focused on the destination that we forget to pay attention to the journey, and we miss out big-time.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were able to see that there is no destination, because wherever we are is the destination.  If we could adopt that mind-set then there would be no more waiting for better times because they would already be here, and we would act accordingly.

So, in ACT terms that doesn’t mean that we need to stop thinking about the future or the past but what it does mean is that we should try to become more flexible.   Choose to be in the present when that is needed, to be in the future when planning is required, or to be in the past when that works best.

Simple???  Not at all.  But worth the effort.

I wrote “THE DESTINATION DAZZLE” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How good are you at staying in the present moment?
  • How do you cope with thoughts that drag you back to the past or try to lure you into the future?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

TIP FOR TODAY

POEM FOR TODAY

couple on the beach

THE DESTINATION DAZZLE

Let’s not be dazzled by destination when the journey will suffice,

Nor trade in a passing pleasure, for it won’t come our way twice,

For when we are over focused on whatever lies afar,

We are blind to all the treasures that are scattered where we are.

Oh it’s easy to be hijacked by a future seemingly

That much shinier and finer than where we are presently,

But it’s only an illusion, just a dream that we have spun,

It’s the present we must look to for our moments in the sun.

And the destination dazzle does have power to eclipse

All those lovely little moments as it plays its brinkmanships

Saying, “This is insufficient, better times lie just ahead,”

But if we don’t call its bluff ‘twill say it still on our death-bed!

And so let’s put it in perspective, let’s allow ourselves to dream

But futures come with a health warning, they are rarely what they seem,

Whereas the present has the power to transform lives instantly

When we see our destination’s everywhere we happen to be.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “THE DESTINATION DAZZLE” please pass it on, and do please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT ……….

D J Moran, PHD, has posted an excellent video entitled  “Demystifying ACT – The Present Moment.

I found it really interesting and I am sure that you will too.  He talks about how research shows that most of us spend approximately 47% of our waking hours anywhere other than in the present moment.  We are, to quote Moran, “there and then, as opposed to here and now.”  And, of course when we are “there and then” we are missing out on the opportunity to do something meaningful “here and now!”

Which brings us to the ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments.  How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Published by

Corinne Shields

I am a wife, mother, grandmother, erstwhile teacher for thirty plus years, and permanent student. I have long been interested in psychology and spirituality and enjoy writing inspirational poetry. Hence the publication of this blog at ACT Made Lyrical.com. I play golf badly, piano a little better and I love reading, writing, and all things French. I divide my time between Wales and France and enjoy travelling with my husband, Len and my dog Charlie.

4 thoughts on “ACT and The Present Moment”

  1. What a sage the Dalai Lama is! Jeanne and I were discussing this living in the moment only today. It is quite difficult to do sometimes but really worth practising as the past and fear of the future can really spoil the here and now. Love the post and poem as always! Xx

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    1. No it certainly isn’t easy and I was reassured to see how many of us spend 47% of our thinking time either rummaging about in the past or projecting into the future. At least we know we are not alone! A timely warning from the Dalai Lama though, and like everything else, the more you practice the better you get! Xx

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  2. Wow, awesome timing with our posts! I think there must be an even balance between enjoying the present and doing what needs doing to enjoy the kind of future one wants, but I doubt that’s what goes on with most people. It seems like far too many of us are focused almost completely on the past and future instead of today, and that’s a real shame!

    For mindfulness (and please forgive me if I’ve already shared this with you!! terrible memory) I’ve been focusing on being aware of all my senses at different, random moments. It’s an activity I do alone and also with my 15 yr old daughter; I’ll (or we’ll) think about RIGHT NOW and what is being felt, seen, tasted, heard, and smelled. It’s funny because during the times that I’ve done this, I experience the moment with SOOOO much clarity – it’s unreal! And then I also remember that moment later with similar clarity! I love it.

    So, yeah, I’m a fan of living in the moment, but there’s always work to be done. My thoughts still drift, but bringing them back to the present is a practice I’m very much interested in keeping up. XO

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    1. Hi Valerie. Lovely to hear from you and it was weird this morning when I read your post because it resonated so much! Anyway, I have spent time today planning something lovely so I have that to look forward to but I am also, like you, trying to stay in the present more. Mindfulness is something I try to do every day and often at night if thoughts start racing then I find slowing down and focusing on the breath and what is going on right here and now helps. Sometimes I even fall asleep! Looking forward to keeping in touch.

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