Raging against the moment

Let's talk about being "being in the moment." Or rather, not being in the moment because of our inner running monologue. Diving into the personal stash, some of my weirdo happenduringconversations lines include,
"How am I coming across? Do I look receptive? Friendly?"
"Why are my arms crossed?"
Inner response: "Your arms are crossed because it's comfortable, you're cold, and crossing your arms keeps your hands warm. It also makes you look defensive. You're not defensive. Uncross your arms."
"...now what do I do with my hands?" (always the hands)

Besides having no shame in airing my curiosities, I think there's something in this that goes beyond me and the stupid hand conversations I have with myself. 

Is there a way to turn it all off? To be more present? To be more "in the moment?"

Everyone needs something to think about while running, I suppose.

After a couple months of paying attention to when my monkeymind started to take off versus when it was quiet, I came up with a few things:

  • "Reading the situation" via the inner monologue takes hold when I feel unsure of a situation or where I stand with someone. Think work presentations to people I don't interact with very frequently, the whole "Is he into me? Is he not?" thing, meeting soon-to-be new friends in awkward networking situations, etc. 
  • When I feel relaxed and confident, however, talking/doing without the running update feed is the norm. Examples of this include girls dates, trivia with the guys, tossing around ideas with my work team, and whenever I'm being my goofy self. 

The next step in the investigation process was testing these findings with other people. Insert friends. Verdict? I/we are not alone in any of this. And this is pretty fascinating.

Coming out of this, there are two questions that need to be answered.

The first is,"When we're uncertain, why can't we just be in the moment?!" and the second, "What does the phrase "being in the moment" actually mean?"

Starting with the second one, I'd argue not a whole lot.

On paper, the adage sounds great. Magical. The cure-all for those times that you can't focus/are scared/need a pep talk. For me, though, all of that greatness stays on paper because "being in the moment" doesn't account for situational variables. What about all of the things that go into being present? What about your attitude toward that moment? Nerves? Uncertainty? How do those things factor in to our ability to be present?

Gotta love how questions only spur more questions

As an example of why the phrase "being in the moment" doesn't do it for me, let's say that you're at a party and the only person you know is the host. You're also dressed differently than everyone else in a painfully obvious way. No matter how awesome your conversations that night are, chances are, you'll feel awkward on some level. You'll be a touch self-conscious. And you'll probably be more monkey-brained than if you were hanging out with your closest guys/girls. As much as I'd try to deny this, it's definitely how I'd be. And I'm guessing it'd be the same for you too.


The way we operate all comes down to how we see ourselves in a given situation. 

If we're in unfamiliar territory, $10 says the inner voice will start to whisper,

"Is this moment enough?"

And regardless of how much we try to hide it, what we really mean by that is,

"...am I enough?"

When we're with our close friends though, the voice is silent. We don't have to think about allofthethings because with our people, they don't matter. If we have weird hand gestures, we know that despite them (or maybe because of them), they will still be our people. We we subconsciously trust that we and that moment are enough.

This brings me back to the original question of "When we're uncertain, why can't we just be in the moment?!"

Rephrased, this question should now read, "When we're uncertain, how can we trust that this moment is enough?"

Simply, by trusting that we are enough. Easier said than done, I know, but something to strive for. Something to practice. And something, a while down the road, that will be second nature in all situations.

In summation,

The whole "being in the moment" thing? Lets throw that out the window. Defenestration baby. Instead of "being in the moment" let's instead go for "this moment is enough" and "I am enough for this moment."

This moment is enough and you are enough for this moment.