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Last night I came home after a long day and evening of work. My 11 year old son asked me to sit with him and talk for a while. I noticed that I was immediately distracted by my long list of “to do’s”. I needed to return emails, phone calls, fold laundry, make school lunches, tidy up, and so on: The usual life of a Mom.

I realize that I am often focused on planning for the future or looking back on the past. I know I am not alone with this style. I speak to many mothers in my private practice who also have a difficult time putting down their work, and focusing on their present relationships with their partner, their children and even themselves.

As a Psychologist, I do believe that our past history influences who we are today, but to what degree do we need to focus on our past stories? When we focus on the past (worries, regrets or even nostalgic memories), how much are we missing of the present? When we focus too much on the future (and what we need to get done), how much do we miss of the present?

Have you taken the Myers Briggs Personality Test? I am a ENFJ (Extravert, Intutitive, Feeling and Judging). Judging is actually PLANNING on this test, and yes I admit I often enjoy the process of planning almost as much as the event itself.

Last night, I quieted myself, breathed slowly and listened to my son’s stories of the day. I reminded myself- this is it. Life is not a dress rehearsal. I need to enjoy the present now. Maybe I need to go back to yoga or start a meditation practice because this is hard for me!

As I stood up to leave, my son said, “One more thing- please listen to this new song with me”. Together, we listened to a song on his ipod, “Hey, Soul Sister”. My eyes filled up with tears. I know this time is precious. I need to stay in the present more, and enjoy this incredible time.  In a year or two my sons may not want to share their music or their time with me. I need to enjoy this present time now.

Some of us are more experienced at planning for the future or looking back at the past. My personal challenge is to stay more in the present. What about you? What helps you stay in the present?

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