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Being in the Present Moment: My Journey to Cultivating Peace

By Rachel
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As we start off this new year, I want to share, from many years of practice, some thoughts on being in the present moment: my journey to cultivating peace.

Are you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and like life is passing you by without you having the space to enjoy the moments? I get it. That used to be me and somedays, still is. In this post, being in the present moment: my journey to cultivating peace, you will learn how this came to be as I share my story and tips on how to put it into practice.

After embarking on a treacherous pilgrimage to find more peace and presence in my life, I began to learn how to stay in the present moment longer and discovered abundant beauty that life has to offer.

The Gift of the Present

Hello, guys! Happy New Year and welcome to 2024!

Each January here on the blog, I like to start off the new year with a post that comes directly from my heart. These posts are a little outside my ‘normal realm’ of content but I’ve gotten amazing feedback from them so I figure, why not!

Today’s post focuses on the present moment. To many, it may seem like a ‘woo-woo’ concept. And that’s totally and completely fair. But, hear me out because I’ve spent the past 5 years putting this idea into practice to cultivate more peace and calmness in my life.

snowy trees in Winter

I truly believe that each day, each moment, is a gift. But, years ago, I never would have thought that way. It’s taken many years to figure out a way forward.

However, through it all, when we can learn how to stop the constant noise that goes through the mind, we can begin to allow space for things like awe to appear. I’ll share, from experience, how to bring awareness to our surroundings and use practical strategies to stay in the present moment to make the most of life.

being in the present: my journey to cultivating peace

Lastly, I want to point out that I’m not a therapist or a mindfulness teacher and I don’t claim to be, though I have learned valuable tidbits from each. I’m merely sharing my experiences and writing from my heart in hopes that this will be a help to you or someone you love. Take everything with a grain of salt and apply it to your life in a way that works best for you.

Being in the Present Moment: My Journey to Cultivating Peace

I have had this post on my content calendar for awhile now. However, after getting Covid a few weeks ago and having Christmas basically taken away, this post means more to me now than it did 4 weeks ago.

You see, I learned an important lesson in letting things be as they are. Did I get mad for getting sick right before Christmas? Absolutely! Was I upset at not being able to see family? You bet! However, through it all, I found an underlying factor of gratefulness.

sunset on the North Shore of Minnesota

Being in the present moment isn’t about being happy all the time. It’s about letting feelings like sadness and joy co-exist without a story. I saw a license plate in a parking lot yesterday that read ‘LETITB’ and knew that I had to write about that exact theme here today.

So, without further ado, let’s get into these 5 ideas for being more present in 2024!

1. Find a Mindful Activity.

My first piece of advice for living in the present is to find a hobby or activity that helps you turn off your mind.

For me that’s fly fishing. This sport and hobby has changed my life in so many ways but, most importantly, it’s taught me to literally just be in the moment.

being in the present moment: my journey to cultivating peace

Before I get to the river, I’m usually all wound up with lingering stress from the week. But, give me my fly rod, put me in the river and poof! Whatever worries were bothering me or whatever my mind was stuck on is completely gone.

In that moment, nothing else matters. There is beautiful nature surrounding me and all I’m focused on is which fly to try that gives me the best chance of catching a fish.

18 inch rainbow trout

Other mindful hobbies or activities could include:

  • knitting
  • painting
  • pottery
  • biking
  • writing
  • yoga
  • gardening
  • baking
  • candle making

Being in the Present Moment: My Journey to Cultivating Peace

Sometimes simply going for a walk and only listening to the sounds you hear is incredibly peaceful. Try something brand new or pick up an old hobby that you have done before.

Whatever you choose, make sure you gift yourself some time each week to devote to it!

2. Take Your Power Back.

Last year, I put my foot down and decided that enough was enough and, truly, that’s where this whole idea of being in the present moment: my journey of cultivating peace, came from.

I was tired of letting thoughts and old habits drag me down day after day. And it was there, in the silence of fear, that I discovered an amazing energy.

Journey Jots #8

There is this energy within all of us that has so much power. Literally, you have the power to change your life for the better.

This is not something that will happen overnight. It has taken me years to get to this point in my mental wellness but I truly believe anyone can decide to feel better.

Put your mind to it day after day and, ever so slowly, you will begin to notice yourself not reacting as strongly to things. It takes work, guys, but it’s the kind of thing that, for me, was simply non-negotiable anymore.

So now, whenever I notice those thoughts starting to creep in, I literally tell myself, “Rachel, take your power back!” And it’s this switch that happens where I can choose take my happiness back each and every time.

Being in the present moment: My Journey of Cultivating Peace

3. You Have a Choice.

I believe, with everything that is in me, that we all have a choice. For example. There are some mornings when I wake up feeling super great! I’m happy, awake, alert and ready for a new day.

However, there are also those mornings when I wake up exactly the opposite. I’m tired, irritable, sad, and just plain crabby. I’m sure you can relate, right?? But, it’s in those moments where we have a choice.

being in the present moment: my journey to cultivating peace

I could totally take the easy route and choose to be upset and annoyed (for no reason at all) all day long. However, I’m come to realize that life is much too short to live in misery.

Case in point…when Covid stole Christmas from hubby and myself, we made every conscious choice to stop feeling sorry for ourselves but it was a practice that we needed to choose over and over.

So, I make the choice (and it’s truly not easy) to start to turn my mindset around. I’m not saying I can snap my fingers and bam! I’m happy. That’s not real life.

waves crashing on the rocks of Lake Superior with a beautiful sunrise

What I mean is that all of us can make a conscious effort to slowly start to feel better when our mood tanks. If something happens in the middle of the day and you start going down the hole of doom, pause and give yourself a few minutes. Maybe text a friend. Watch a short video on YouTube…funny dog compilations are a favorite. Grab a quick snack.

It’s the practice of diverting our attention from what’s wrong to what’s right.

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Mindfulness and present moment living takes practice. It takes practice to choose faith over fear but I believe it’s something worth going after. Start again and again and again.

Start over as many times as it takes because, truly, happiness is a choice worth seeking.

a snowy pine tree in the woods of Minnesota

4. Allow Yourself to Feel.

This one is a bit tricky for me to explain but I’m going to give it a try.

I used to be scared of everything. Like, not just monsters under the bed type scared but scared of feeling things that didn’t feel ‘good’. Truly, part of being a human is that we get to experience every emotion and realm of feeling under the sun. It’s just part of it.

being in the present moment: my journey to cultivating peace

There is no possible way for any of us to feel happy all the time. It’s okay! It’s normal! And, honestly, you don’t have to ‘be’ or ‘feel’ any particular way. Happy and sad can co-exist.

Whatever emotion you feel at any given time, let it but don’t react. Allow space for it all. It’s truly freeing.

whitewater river in November

5. Let It Go.

There is a hymn I have had pinned onto my whiteboard for years. It’s called ‘Let it Go’. No, not the song from Frozen.

The first few lines from it say: “If your heart is filled with anger let it go, let it go, You lock your feelings up inside you, let it go, let it go, Depressed or feeling worthless let it go, let it go, Don’t you know God has a dream and it’s bigger than this.”

a snowy trail through the woods

When hubby and I visited the Magnolia Silos years ago, we stopped in at Jimmy Don’s metal shop. I bought a little metal plaque, the only thing we could afford really. On it is a small engraved blue ballon and to the right of it reads ‘ Let It Go’. It’s a daily reminder to let go of that balloon string.

What can you let go of this year that’s been weighing you down for so long? Do something constructive to get it out. Cry. Yell into a pillow. Have a good, long workout. Then, muster up the courage to Let. It. Go.

icy rocks on the shore of Lake Superior

Mindfulness is Your Superpower

As I close out this post today, know that this way of living is in constant motion. Am I perfect? Absolutely not. Do I have hard days sometimes? Of course! But, am I the happiest version of myself that I’ve ever been? A million times, yes.

Take your life by the horns this year and really get after it! I believe in you.

Closing Tidbits on Being in the Present Moment: My Journey to Cultivating Peace

From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely hope my thoughts on being in the present moment: my journey to cultivating peace, are helpful. This year, show up for yourself. Treat yourself with the ultimate respect. Give yourself grace as you choose a new path forward. Above all else, don’t ever give up on yourself.

Living in the present moment is not something that can really ever fully be achieved, rather it’s something to put into practice each day.

I know it can be done because I’ve lived it. Mindfulness is your superpower to living peacefully through whatever life throws at you. Be encouraged to dig deep, finding a new way of living along the way.

signature from The Antiqued Journey

Leave a comment! Is mindfulness something you practice? Are there any other tips you have to share? I love hearing from you!

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a snowy woods scene

If you are new here, I’m Rachel, the writer and content creator here at The Antiqued Journey. I’m so happy to have you! I encourage you to stop by the ‘about me’ page to get to know me a little more.

Here on the blog, you will find loads of inspiration for decorating with vintage and antique decor, simple DIY crafts and many thrifting adventures. If that interests you, I invite you to sign up for my e-mail. You will receive a free digital download as a thank you!

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24 Comments. Leave new

  • Thank you for sharing your journey to peace, nature, self love, self care… so inspiring Rachel. I love listening to meditations, ( the mindful movement) and breath work… yoga and stretch/flex classes, inventing art, my joy of exploring recipes…. & in January, I find daily inspiration quotes to read with my morning coffee. Keep on fishing!

    Reply
    • Rachel Granholm
      January 4, 2024 8:08 am

      Hi Lee!
      Oh gosh I’m SO happy you enjoyed it. I write these types of posts and I just hope and pray that they are well-received. So, I appreciate your kindness this morning. I’m so happy that you have a self-care routine, as well! I love my yoga 🙂 Hope you have a great day ahead!

      Reply
  • Very very nice article and photos!
    Thank you…

    Reply
  • Debbie- Dabble
    January 4, 2024 8:01 am

    Rachel,
    Loved this post!! Sorry about your Christmas but glad that you found some way to make peace with it…I subscribe to the quote of “We make plans and God Laughs!” Mindfulness is something that I need to practice more….Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject…It was a great read!!
    Happy new Year!
    Hugs,
    Deb

    Reply
  • Gloria Piguet
    January 4, 2024 8:36 am

    Thank you Rachel for your article. It opened my eyes to so many things that I need to change and work on. I appreciate hearing about your journey and it gives me hope that I am not alone out there. Time is so precious and we need to enjoy everyday!
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Rachel Granholm
      January 4, 2024 9:02 am

      Hi, Gloria!
      OH I am so happy this helped you in some way. You are FOR SURE not alone…I know it seems like that to me sometimes, too but that’s what gives me motivation to write these posts.
      Thanks so much for taking time out of your day to be here today…it truly means the world to me. Enjoy the day ahead!

      Reply
  • Maryjo Materao
    January 4, 2024 10:26 am

    Great post Rachel! So many great thoughts and yes mindfulness and living in the present are super important. Hard to do sometimes in this day and age. Loved reading this. XO- MaryJo

    Reply
  • Hi Rachel – This was a perfect post for so many people. I am going to share it in my monthly Unboxing post. Happy Peaceful New Year friend.

    Reply
  • This is exactly what I needed to read this morning. I especially enjoyed the sections on letting it go. I need to practice that more! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and beautiful words!

    Reply
  • Melanie Alexander
    January 8, 2024 1:52 pm

    Great thoughts Rachel! Our mind really is a superpower. I appreciate you sharing your journey with us, it’s a good reminder to slow down and make sure we take care of our mental health.

    Reply
  • This was so heartfelt and beautiful, Rachel! You describe quite a journey…I will remember this post forever! I’m so proud of you, girl!🥰

    Reply
  • Hey Rachel! Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts with us! This is such an inspiring post and your pictures are so beautiful and peaceful! Here’s to a wonderful 2024!

    Reply
  • Bookmarking this post for the hard days and will share it on Friday too, Rachel! It’s not only filled with fabulous reminders but also with tangible ways we can incorporate being more mindful into our daily lives. We’ve been working on better communication in our family lately and it’s been harder to take a pause before reponding than I thought it would be. This post made me realize that pausing can be another tool for our wellness toolbox though and much like the balloon string we can choose to let it go at any time. Sending you tons of hugs and hoping you’re on the mend soon, CoCo

    Reply
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Hello I’m Rachel.

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