Some moments are easy to live into: celebrations, joyful times, passionate body and heart connections. Other moments, to say the least, are a bit more challenging: tragedy, sickness, fear.
What would happen if we shifted our perceptions of what it "should" be like to live into the moment? Most of us define living into a moment as "enjoying" it, but perhaps that is not an accurate definition.
Living into the moment is simply being present with What Is; completely experiencing the moment, the situation at hand, and whatever feelings that arise at that time. And, paradoxically, to notice when we simply can't. In other words, our awareness of how we are avoiding or escaping the moment is actually one way to be with it!
When we meditate, for example, we usually sit in quietude and simply allow ourselves to be. We can try to have "no thoughts" (which is nearly impossible), or neutrally monitor our wandering mind. We can regulate - or even just notice - our breath. And though the benefits of meditation are numerous - it gives us a chance to slow down, to quiet our racing mind, and return to a normal, rhythmic breathing pattern - it also enhances our awareness. Meditation allows us to practice living into the moment.
When our bodies and minds race to keep up with a world spinning out of control, we begin to feel out of control as well. We have mastered multi-tasking, have created projects galore, rendered numerous to do lists and over-committed to nearly everything accessible to us!
Yes, slowing down does aid in living into the moments simply because we have reserved more time for each of our experiences (rather than being late, missing something altogether, or thinking of the next place we need to be). Nevertheless, it is possible to live into the busiest of moments, though a bit more challenging.
Think carousel versus roller coaster. Each has a different style and pace, but both can be quite enjoyable; both can be fully experienced. In fact, even things that scare us (think haunted house) can be completely experienced if we allow ourselves to do so (and perhaps keep our eyes open the whole time!).
The best way to bring yourself to the moment is to stop and notice what you are doing and feeling; just notice. Next, of equal importance, is to breathe. Breathing is the life force which connects us to our Source, our bodies and, yes, the moment of now. If possible, give yourself permission to feel your feelings that arise. Suppressing them is actually a way to avoid the moment, although sometimes we simply can't help it. If that's the case, notice the feelings, feel them begin to emerge, then feel your desire to suppress them.
If you do refrain from experiencing your feelings fully in the moment, know you can always release them at another - perhaps safer - time. Again, if we are aware of what is happening within and around us, we are living into the moment.
Beyond suppressing or feeling our feelings, we can move into a place where we simply notice the feelings as if they are pictures on the walls of our home. They are certainly ours, but our perception of them is a bit more removed and neutral. We feel them, yet we don't take them so seriously or personally. This, too, is another way of living into the moment.
Whether we suppress, feel or observe our feelings doesn't actually matter; there really is no "right" way to be present. In fact, as soon as we judge something - ourselves, another person, a situation, our feelings - we move into separation and lose the moment, the now. We are no longer present.
When it comes to experiences that aren't quite as pleasant, gratitude can help us stay present. No, it isn't always easy to be thankful in the heart of a tragedy, but if we can find something - anything - to be grateful for during an unfortunate incident, it helps keep us present, allows the flow of energy to move more gracefully through our bodies as well as the situation, and it helps open our hearts. An open heart is synonymous with being present.
There may never be the perfect formula for living into uncomfortable moments, but there certainly are tools to make it easier. And, since life is filled with both joyful and challenging experiences, it's nice to have a tool or two nearby. With practice, it is possible (and may even become enjoyable) to learn to live into most, if not all, of life's moments.