At this time of year, most of us are thinking about the no too distant future. But still the future. Endless preparations and lists of things to do very soon. I love this time of year most of all - not the actual Christmas festival itself, which descends in the most part to disappointment, stress, exacerbated mental health problems, indigestion and hangovers. No it's not that. I love this calm before the storm.
Nowadays, I like to be where I am now, in almost any situation that I find myself, even if it is one I don't like. I don't like to miss moments by worrying about the next ones. That's not to say that is easy to do, and that I wouldn't rather be couched up with a whisky in hand than sat in a traffic light at rush hour, wishing I was somewhere else.
Being present and absorbing yourself in the 'now' releases so much good, mentally. Dropping resistance to something you hate lets the mind and muscles relax. Future worries dissolve or at least back off respectfully, like a retreating butler after pouring the wine. And, more positively, you can enjoy special moments so much more by putting up a barrier to future thinking.
But how? The list of stuff to do or procrastinate about about stacks up in the waiting room in your head. Thoughts get crowded and tangled and we get lost in them. So, like anything else, it is a mental effort, at least at first, to step back and take control. You will have to deliberately tell yourself that you are here now, with the person you're with, doing the thing you're doing - or just not doing anything and letting the immediate presence of the world come to you. These moments don't come again. Once gone they are gone forever.
Use a little mantra or trigger to keep you anchored. Say to yourself, "Be here". Look at everything around you with renewed vigour, listen to the minutest of sounds, feel the touch of anything you are touching. It may last only a few fleeting, peaceful moments. It's bliss, though. And it gives you power! The power to be in control of your own mind and thoughts. Christmas will come soon enough don't worry. You won't have daydreamed your time away, and if you adopt the same procedure over the holidays, you will enjoy it so much more.