The Here and Now by Erica D. Fulton

The Here and Now
by Erica D. Fulton (MA-Counseling, MDiv., LPC-Intern, Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor)

     How many of us actually live here, and the ones who do are often misunderstood? We live in such a fast-paced society. No wonder maintain concentration can be a struggle. If we slow down for a minute, we maybe label ourselves as lazy or nonproductive. In fact, we sometimes find it hard to unplug from our phones. Have you ever found yourself having a conversation with
a friend, but midway through you stopped engaging in the conversation? Basically, you are physically present, but mentally absent which has happened to the best of us. I mentioned about unplugging from the phone. One might ask what does this have to do with living in the here and now. Technology can even be a distraction to being in the here and now. Case in point. Everyone has their phones at the dinner time and interpersonal conversation becomes nonexistent. I recall
one weekend I went out of town. I misplaced my phone, and I had a hissy fit. You would have thought that I lost my arm. I did not realize how attached I was to my phone. I was so consumed with not having my phone for half the day. I am sharing this story to highlight the importance of unplugging from technology to be present.
     There are at least four techniques that I want to share that helps one to be present. First be aware of your emotional state. I recall during my residency, my peers and I had to give each other feedback on our growing edges and this suggestion was and still is one of my growing areas. Another way to stay in the here and now is practice moments of gratitude. In addition, practicing gratitude moments will help boost your immune system. Finally, another way to stay
in the here and now is choosing words that indicate where you are in the present. Living in the moment can appear a difficult task when life is pulling at you. The kids have the homework. The husband’s suits need to go the cleaners. The kids have soccer and basketball practice. You have a big project due at work when your kid gets sick at night and you find yourself in the ER. Does all
this sound familiar? The next question comes how does one live in the here and now when life is screaming for your attention? Suddenly, there seems to be not enough hours in the day. Suddenly, living in the moment seems like an insurmountable task.
     Well, self-care is preventative care that helps us to balance over selves in the midst of life’s demands. I once read a meme, and the meme stuck with me. The meme basically said that some people work themselves tirelessly and take no time to smell the roses. They work and work. Hear me, I am not saying that we should not be productive and fruitful. Often times, we mistake business for productivity, and we regard rest as a taboo word. Self-care is an important
component to being in the here and now. Self-care allows us to pour into ourselves so we can pour into others. Self-care prepares us to be in the here and now. Self-care will look different for everyone. I have a church member who soaks in the tub and uses that as her prayer time. So, what is your practice of self-care? Is your level of care equal to or greater than the demands placed on you? People often confuse self-care with selfishness. These are two different ways of
living producing radically different results.
     I recall during my residency I experienced what I perceived as a setback. As I reflect on this past event of being away from work for two months, those two months helped me to do the very same thing that I am writing about—fracturing my ankle slowed me down and forced me to take notice of my inner world and reflect accordingly. I recall a couple of months before I fractured my
ankle, one of my friends asked me if I ever took time to tend to my garden. I gave her a dumb-founded look. Prior to her asking me that question, we had a conversation about celebrating and being in the moment rather than rushing through life. During those two months, I was blessed with the opportunity to do just that: tend to my garden, my inner world, and even reflect and
celebrate.
     Being in the here and now requires that we take notice and deal with what I call our inner world—our emotions and our thoughts because these two things we cannot escape from. Being in the here and now also requires being comfortable with the unpredictability of the future and not living in the past. It can be so easy to be infatuated with what once was rather than embracing our moments in the here and now. So, take time out this week to be present with your emotions
rather they are good, bad, or indifferent. Journal and then find a trusted friend to share with. Take notice of how suddenly you find gratitude in the little things. Remember we can never recycle moments so let us be engaged fully in the present because each moment is precious. So I leave with a daily mediation: “Make the most of every living and breathing breathing moment because these are evil times” (Ep 5:15).

 

Erica D. Fulton holds a dual degree from Houston Graduate School of Theology. She has a Master of Arts in Counseling in preparation for LPC/ LMFT licensure and Master of Divinity. She graduated from UST in 2012 with her
Bachelor of Arts in Theology. She is currently a LPC-Intern who is supervised by Robin Exum and is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. She will soon be starting her Doctorate in Professional Counseling specializing in the area of trauma, grief, and loss. She has over 14 years of experience and 8
years of experience working with the elderly population. She has also obtained a certification in leadership from the Inspire Women Leadership Academy. Lastly, she is a widow and godmother of 4. She is on the board of
directors for GettingSorted.com. They are an organization that works with children who have learning differences and their families. You can follow her on Instagram at authorericafulton or here: http://www.ericadenisemarie.wixsite.com/website


2 comments

  • Erica you are very inspiring and are an example for many. See you soon!

    Rocio Perez
  • Thank you so much Erica for reminding us the importance of taking time daily to live in the here and now and how important self care is. This article was truly a blessing to me.

    Kenya Williams

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