A freedom loving flamingo's guide to living in the now.

Lately I have traded in my strategic planner's future-seeking, visionary spectacles to focus on the present tense, the here and the now.

I have observed that sometimes there is a gap between living and loving life and the things that we actually do. What happens then is we become unhappy, discontent and unhealthy.  Over time, we lose our ability to be productive and contribute to the best of our abilities and talents.

This is a concern, because human beings are fragile.  We all react to this negative stimulation differently. Some people check out at home or at work. Some people give up on their health and happiness. And some people break, at least for a while.

I believe that as people, we deserve more than an existence of perseverance. We deserve to shine in everything we do.

Present tense is the state of being that deals with the now. The present tense excludes yesterday and leads to tomorrow. The present tense is when things happen. Think about that. Nothing can happen yesterday, now, and nothing can happen tomorrow, now. So all we have is now.

Living in the present also means letting go of all the yesterdays that came before, and every residual feeling that is left over. Residual feelings are like footprints, or bad smells.  They might linger, but they say nothing about this time.

My friend, who is also my quasi brown duck financial advisor, recently had this observation:  when you get negative energy, it drags you down. Do the things that create positive good feelings.   This makes sense on all levels and made me think about my own "now", or "current state" as we call it the world of planning.  The question is where is the love in everyday living?

I decided that I needed to step outside of the brown duck world of board room traditional planning thinking about visions, missions, values, goals and strategies and into the world of the Zen loving flamingo world to answer the question, “where is the love?”

Here is the path that I took and some answers that I came up with. 

1.  Make a list of the things that you love doing.  That gives you the most satisfaction and enjoyment. Write down what you are doing in your life to support these good things.
  • I love to create environments that people like to be in
  • I love fashion, furniture. 
  • I love interesting people. 
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If you have followed my blog at whiteshag.blogspot.com, you know about my redecorating journey in my home, as well as a local theatre and conference space, and my daughter's home in Vancouver.  I am about to begin my other daughter's new house.  Even the work in my corporate planning life goes back to this raison d’ĂȘtre.  (I have a secret desire own a furniture / paint store and to spend my days creating.)
  • I love to exercise and push myself to a higher level of physical health and fitness. 
  • I love to stand on my head and feel the blood rush. 
  • I love to discover what I am capable of beyond what I think I am. 

I have followed every fitness trend from the 80's to now. Yes, I had the pumpkin orange full body leotard and purple thong body suit.  We all did in the 80's. Don't judge me.  Somewhere along the way, exercise went from fashion to feeling good.  In 2005 I joined Gold's Gym and got hooked on the exercise classes, the instructors and the culture.  One of my goals was to someday be an instructor, so July 2010 I made it happen, with the help of Gold's Gym.  I teach fitness classes at Gold's Gym. I am certified in Group Centergy - yoga / Pilates inspired experience, and Group Core - an integrated full body workout that builds core strength. When I exercise and feel good, I can do anything.
  • I love to write. 
Writing is like breathing to me. I committed my first book "Died of a" to a publisher for review in December 2011, and was rejected.  Oddly enough, that felt pretty good, because at least I took a step forward and I learned a few things about the publishing process. 

In 2012, I became the new owner and publisher of SKY Magazine and with pride released my first issue in December.  SKY Magazine focuses on the entrepreneurs and business owners who dare to live in their own vision of living well in Saskatchewan. 

In 2012, I signed with Freisen Press to self-publish, "How to be a Pink Flamingo in a Brown Duck Pond".  
  • I love helping people realize their own goals and potential. 
This is how I know if I am having a positive effect in the way I spend my time and talents. If they are not having a good time, and I am not, I know that something is gone awry. I created Lynear Thinking with this purpose in mind, and one of the reasons that I love teaching physical fitness.  Helping other people gets me out of my head. And that's a good thing. 

Now think about what holds you back.

  • Do you believe that you are too small to make a difference? 
  • What are you afraid of? 
  • What thoughts do you think that takes you away from the things you love to do? 
  • What does your self-talk say to you?
  • What experiences are you still reliving that drag you down and hurt you all over again? 
  • Are you still reeling from a negative hurtful experience? 
If you can't put this into words, consider that negative emotions are expressions of negative thoughts and feelings.  If you are experiencing negative emotions, chances are negative thoughts and memories are dragging you down. 

Understanding this list helps me to understand the residual footprints of yesterday that sometimes invade the now and limit potential for the future. 

Reconcile negative pasts with a positive present.

Decide that negative experiences of the past did not meet your personal criteria. We can all say this about a former employer, a former relationship, or a former anything. If something feels bad, it's because it is. So move on to the good stuff in a positive way. 

Letting go can be difficult, because often times we allow our pain to define us, so find a way to put it somewhere “safe” and away from your now.  One strategy may be placing these negative residual memories in a metaphorical house on the top of a mountain, out of reach and behind a door.  Another may be to keep a journal – once you write it down, the words are out of your thinking, and you no longer have to recycle them in your self talk.

Live in the now.

Every day, remember to speak in present tense, and remember that yesterday's footprints are like archaeological digs: interesting, but useless today. Learn to stand on your head. Finally do not be afraid of who you are: be as powerful as you are.