Week 1 of Gratitude: Embracing The Now

Welcome to Soul Studies -- prompts and questions to explore GRATITUDE in your life, business and creativity.

We're back with a whole new 4-week series of Soul Studies, my friends! This is your weekly wake up call to spend that 15 minutes, go back to your values, and actually let the monthly theme permeate your consciousness and your daily life.

So… pour yourself your favorite beverage, open up a journal, and commit yourself to the prompts and exercises below! This is how you leverage your Color Your Soul subscription the most -- by absorbing these insights and then actually applying them in your life!

week #1: 

Embracing The Now

First, let me start with a question...

Do you know that feeling when you zone out for a bit and suddenly snap back to reality, realizing you weren't fully present in the time that just transpired?

I don’t just mean looking down at your phone or spacing out listening to music on a long drive and wondering where the time went. It’s not really an out-of-body feeling as much as it is a DEEP-inside-mind type of feeling -- like you ventured into Pixar's Inside Outworld and for a bit you were kind of trapped inside your own head.

(Okay, I just re-read that few sentences and I kind of sound crazy. But I’m banking on the fact that you’re a soulful creative and you can relate!)

What I've realized over the years about those deep falls down the rabbit hole of my own mind is that what lures me there is usually one of two things: 1) fixating on something that happened in the past or 2) worrying about something that has yet to happen in the future.

And when you go there -- when you try to leave the present moment to "time travel" to the past or future -- the unfortunate part is that you become num to the beauty of the reality that's right in front of you.

Thankfully, over the years I've been able to adopt a few strategies to help me recognize when I'm trying to "time travel" like this and how to pull me back.

Here are some prompts and exercises that can help you find your way back to the present moment should you fall down your own rabbit hole too.

  • Make a list of 5 things you’re worried about lately that exist only in the future.
    • Now, cross each one out and write: “I can’t predict or control how the future unfolds, but I CAN control what I choose to do right now.”
  • Make a list of 5 things things you still dwell on, feel guilt about, or replay in your head that happened in the past.
    • Now, cross each one out and write: “ I can’t change or erase how the past unfolded, but I CAN control what I choose to do right now."
  • How does it feel when you worry about the future or dwell on the past? What emotions or sensations do you experience?
  • And, on the contrary, when your present to the moment in front of you, how does that feel? What emotions or sensations do you experience?
  • What are a few red flags that tell you you are "checking out"? (Do you reach for your phone or tune out the person next to you or let the view that's before you start to dissolve?)
  • Exercise: Next time you notice yourself in a spiral of past or future-tripping, bring your awareness back to your senses. What do you hear right now? What do you smell? What do you feel around you? By focusing on your senses, you're bringing your consciousness to what is REAL and present before you, instead of inside your mind. Do this as long as it takes to bring you back to this moment. (Try this right now to practice!)


        Now, write a list of five SPECIFIC things that you're grateful for in THIS present moment:

        Is it the roof over your head right now? Access to the fresh water you used to make the coffee in that mug beside you? The sleeping pup that you love with your whole heart? The sun pouring in through your window?

        Coming back to the present moment — aside from being an ancient nugget of wisdom in many spiritual philosophies — is SUPER practical. It forces us to focus on what is actually REAL.

        Because, after all, the future is not only a ways off, but often our vision of the future is based largely on assumptions that never play out the way we imagine. And the past, well obviously we can’t go back and rewrite it the way we want so there’s no use spending any mental energy dwelling there.

        “All that is real is now.” By recognizing this, we're able to tether ourselves back to this very moment and detach from what may be weighing us down in the past or the future. 

        I hope this week's email has given you some food for thought when it comes to staying in the present. And remember, be kind to yourself when you realize you're straying to the past or future -- just gently guide your thoughts back to what lies before you and that's where you'll find gratitude.

        That's it for this time -- I'll see you next week!