The music starts bumping. The lights are flashing. My dancers strut their way on stage and I start singing to a packed crowd of 1,000 club-goers at the SoHo dance club in Los Angeles. Was it a fun, awesome, powerful experience?! Actually, no. Instead of feeling the exhilaration of the moment on one of my first big performances as a solo music artist, I spent those 3 minutes completely in my head. As I sung my groovy song on auto-pilot, I scanned the room and had these random thoughts consuming my attention: Wow what a big crowd! They all look Asian. I hope they don’t boo us. Do they get this song? I wonder if they’ll book us again. Are we gonna make enough to pay the dancers tonight? Dang, I just missed a lyric! Are they screaming for me or at me?! It went on and on like this in my head until the end of my “big” performance – all of which I completely missed.

Have you ever missed any of your “big moments?” Sadly enough, I think we’ve all missed special times like this as well as seemingly mundane moments that could be so much more than “mundane” if we would just tap into the practical power of now. I wish I could say I learned from my club SoHo experience and that now, years later, as a traveling singer/songwriter, I am completely present and fully enjoying each performance. The truth is it is definitely a daily practice, if not a moment by moment practice to stay with what is exactly present now - whether you’re on stage, in your kitchen doing your dishes, celebrating a milestone with friends or paying the check-out guy at the supermarket. Big moments to everyday routines can truly have more juice, more spark if we would plug into the power of now.

Here are some practical ways to strengthen your “now” muscle and move your way from past re-hasher and future-fretter to Perfectly Present Princess or Prince.

Start with Awareness
A great place to start is simply noticing those moments when you are NOT in the present moment – they usually look like this:
You cant’ stop re-playing a scene over and over in your mind
You wish you would’ve said something different
You wish “they” did something different
You linger in resentment or regret
You’re stressed-out and overwhelmed with all you have to do
You’re worried about an upcoming event or situation
You’re flighty and disconnected
Just by gently being aware of your state, you can begin to create the space, the opportunity for you to consciously choose to be in the present instead of in the no man’s land of past or future.

Less Multi-tasking, More Focus
More and more folks seem to be working from home like me. We eat lunch while we check email and randomly google things as thoughts pop up. We’ve got TIVO playing last night’s American Idol and we’re doing a load of laundry too. This is probably not the best practice for being in the now, unless you’re a master of the present moment. Instead, for us novice now newbies, why not experiment with having your breakfast and doing nothing else but that. Focus in on the robust smell of your coffee, the myriad of flavors happening in your mouth with your fruit and yogurt, the delicious view outside your window, and the quiet or the noise that serve as your landscape. It’s a completely different experience and a centering one at that, to just “be” with your breakfast. No tv, no radio, no newspaper, just you and the cereal.

Where are your feet?
Have you noticed when you’re in a rush or you’re late, the more you try to force your way through the day, the more comical things get? Comical meaning more messed-up than fixed-up. A beautiful practice to bring to these stressful-then/comical-later moments is to stop and ask yourself “Where are my feet?” Then look down, see your gorgeous toes (it’s summer so you’re wearing open-toe), and say, “There are my feet!” This strangely places you smack dab in the now. There you are in the hallway of your office, Blackberry in hand, Bluetooth in ear, healthy, breathing, upright and alive. For that second, or however long you choose to stay in the moment, there is no problem, no crisis. Maybe there’s a problem in the future or around the corner in someone else’s office, but right now with your feet, you are totally cool.

Build your own NOW toolbox
The best thing you can do is build a “toolbox” filled with tips and resources that most fit you and your lifestyle to keep you centered in the present. Above are just 3 of many practices you can experiment with. The local gym or park, for instance, is great for giving yoga or tai-chi classes a try. Check out what some of your more grounded friends are doing. If meditation sounds like a soothing practice for you, start with Ram Daas’ easy-to-read book for beginners “Journey of Awakening: A Mediator’s Guidebook.” Of course Eckhart Tolle’s books “The Power of Now” and “New Earth” are great resources, not to mention the archived web classes with Oprah found on YouTube.com, Oprah.com, or I-tunes. Create an affirmation to keep with you or put on your mirror, so everyday you repeat to yourself “I am one with the present moment” or whatever words make you feel charged to live in the now. Below you’ll find my own affirmation written as a song called "Power of Now" (listen here: http://www.livevideo.com/video/615A110DFB3F44E5A35533A487401F5E/-the-pow...) Maybe you already have a favorite song that makes you feel centered. Play it daily in the mornings to set the tone for your whole day.

As you can see, your growing “toolbox” is invaluable in deepening your connection with the present and your connection with all of life. There is nothing more practical or life-enhancing than surrendering yourself as often as you can to the power of now. It is the only moment you have, it’s where your feet are, and it’s where peace lives. NOW is home to everyday peacemakers like you and me.

POWER OF NOW
by Faith Rivera

The power of now
Is always present
Nowhere to be
Than where you are
The power of now
Flows oh so gracefully

The power of now
Is always perfect
Nothing to Be
Than who you are
The power of now
Flows oh so easily

Be willing to let go of everything
You think you need to know
Be strong enough to let go of everything
You think you need to control
For everything goes away
Let everything wash away

The power of now
Is ever flowing
Connecting us all
To the One
The power of now
Unfolds so peacefully

The power of now

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"Power of Now" & more songs on living everyday peace are available on the
Maluhia~Everyday Peace album at www.faithrivera.com & on I-Tunes

Author's Bio: 

If Tony Robbins were a girl, could sing like Mariah, groove like Madonna, & inspire like Oprah…you'd get Faith Rivera!

Faith is an Emmy-winning singer, songwriter, & touring positive music artist most known for her high-energy performances & groove-based songs of transformation. She has worked with artists from Luther Vandross to Neil Young and with international teachers/speakers like Marianne Williamson to Michael Beckwith. From TV shows like “ER” & “Scrubs,”spiritual centers to the Hollywood Bowl, life coaches to moms & bouncy kids- they’re all using Faith’s empowering music!