By Case Kenny

Being grateful = taking back your power

We all struggle to be present throughout the day.

We struggle to be grateful for stillness, for walks, for coffee, for lunch, for simplicity…

We struggle to appreciate those things because we’re so focused on progress and to-do lists.

That's the human condition and it doesn't make us bad people but recently I've made it my mission to intentionally be more present in life.

I've made it my mission to NOT have my body in one place and my mind in another.

And ya know what? Sometimes it feels forced. It feels unnatural. I feel that I should I be thinking about what I need to do later or I should check my phone for emails or at least do some scrolling.

The fact that it feels so unnatural to be present is a testament to how far we’ve all grown away from being grateful in the moment.

I dunno about you but I don’t want to take the present for granted any more.

I think life consists of three "parts."

Ups, downs and everything else.

The "ups" are big moments and are infrequent.

The "downs" are bad moments and are also (hopefully) infrequent.

But everything else? The in-between time? THAT is life. THAT is the majority of life and if we’re so focused on the other sides of the curve… we’re really letting our minds drift away from the present.

We're allowing ourselves to avoid being grateful in the present.

I don’t want to regret that so I'm intentionally aligning myself with the present.

- My walks around chicago - no more headphones and no more scrolling.

- I’ll walk around downtown Chicago and I won't step on any cracks for 2 blocks (and I'm a grown 34 year old man LOL).

- I’ll make eye contact with strangers.

- I’ll make small talk with other people in line.

What I’ve learned about being present is that it’s all about zooming in.

I talk a lot about zooming out in life. I talk about seeing the big picture. I talk about knowing what you deserve and the direction you’re heading. I talk about zooming out and seeing how your past fueled your present and how your present is leading you to new chapters in the future.

But sometimes - double edged sword - zooming out permanently distracts us from the present.

It's time to zoom back in.

Slow down for a minute. Be still for a minute. Stop trying to answer all life’s question for a minute.

-  Stop playing out imaginary arguments while you’re in the shower - just appreciate the warmth and feel the water on your skin.

- Don’t doom scroll on your phone while in line at Starbucks - just appreciate the sights and smells.

- Don’t turn to your phone immediately when in an elevator - just exist and be present.

- Walk around your town or city and feel your footsteps on the ground or drive without any music or radio.

Zoom in.

Bring your mind and your body to the same place.

The in-between moments are the majority of my life and I’m not gonna breeze past them because I’m in a rush. I’m not gonna breeze past them because I let my mind wander and control me. I’m not gonna breeze past them because I feel pressure to always be doing and hustling and planning.

Why can’t we appreciate our life's in-between moments while we're in them?

The getting food with the friends moments?

The commute to work moments?

The stillness of the elevator or taking the stairs moments?

The standing in line at the store moments?

The warmth of a shower moments?

Let’s zoom in on the present and take back our power.