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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Queen's U chapter.

In a world where pandemic-induced lockdowns may not be your idea of a good time, it can be extremely hard to embrace the present and remove your focus on the past or the future; however, that makes living in the moment more important than ever. Eckhart Tolle, the author of The Power of Now, said it best when he said: “Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time — past and future — the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is”. People searching for the now have been turning to Tolle, and specifically The Power of Now, since the 90s to help them on their journey to living in the present. Tolle’s teachings advise that we should not live in the past or the future because the present is the only thing that is ever going to be real. This may seem easy at first glance, but breaking the habit of worrying about the past and imagining the future can be one of the hardest tasks you set your mind to. 

Staying alert about what is going on around you and really taking it all in is one of the easiest ways to connect with the present. In the past year, I often thought that time was slipping through my fingers like sand while I was stuck at home, and I felt like I had no way of controlling that. However, that was simply not true. As soon as you take power back over the present, you won’t ever miss the potential for the next moment to be great again. There is simply nothing you will accomplish by worrying about the past or the future, as those times do not exist. The only thing that is ever actually real is the moment you are living in right now. You have the power to be here now, so don’t let this moment slip through your fingers, too. 

Finding peace in this hectic world can be challenging. The fast-paced life we all live these days, with distractions constantly bombarding us from all directions, makes it that much harder to stop and smell the roses. However, the key is to keep it simple. By letting the small things in life pass you by, you’re taking yourself out of the now and missing everything that’s going on around you. Seeking out the small pleasures of each day, like your morning coffee or a beautiful sunset, can make you stop and think how wonderful each little moment is. Pay attention the next time someone does a small favour for you or your favourite clothing store is having a sale; it’ll make you appreciate the present moment that much more. When you pay attention to the little things, you’re then forced to slow down and enjoy the moment, and you will feel calmer and more content with the way things are going in your life. It can be hard to put away your distractions and just appreciate the little things in the present, but that makes it even more worthwhile. 

woman listening to music and dancing
Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels
The key to staying present is to take one day at a time rather than focusing on what happened yesterday or what’s going to happen tomorrow. Think about it: you literally cannot control the misfortunes you may have had yesterday – they already happened, so there is no use worrying about it now. And you cannot manipulate what is going to happen tomorrow because it doesn’t exist yet. The only thing you ever have control over is right now, and we so often forget that as we let beautiful moments in our lives pass us by. As SZA says in her song “Good Days”, “half of us chasin’ fountains of youth and it’s in the present now”. You’ll never be younger than you are right now, so live in this moment!

Getting caught up in anxiety and stress is the perfect recipe for removing yourself from the present. Remember to forget the past, stop worrying about the future, and trust in the present. This quote from rapper MOD SUN perfectly encapsulates the importance of not only staying present in the moment but also staying positive in the present moment, so I’ll leave you with his wise words that I always try to remember when I get in my head: “No matter the amount of negativity you’re presented with, five minutes from now could be your best moment.” Now get out there and be in the now!

Alex Ugolini

Queen's U '24

Psychology major, actress, lover of the earth. Find me on Instagram @alexugolinii
HC Queen's U contributor