Hello again, dear Reader. Today I will discuss the phrase “here-and-now” (also known as “mindfulness” and “being present) and how this concept relates to your life.



The phrase, here-and-now has been around for many years, typically used to describe a state of being. “This place, this present” has its roots in the 1600s. The exact phrase, here-and-now (this present life) was noted as far back as 1829. Later, Irvin Yalom (Staring At The Sun, 2008) used the here-and-now as a tool in psychotherapy. Currently, the buzz phrases “being present” and “mindfulness” have largely supplanted the old terminology. Finally, James Gimian (The Art of Being Present, 2016) wrote that by being mindful (here-and-now), one could obtain greater satisfaction in life.



To be here-and-now, one must be grounded in the present tense. In other words, by not dwelling on the past nor obsessing over the future, we free ourselves to more fully experience our present…our here-and-now. Thus, by being in the here-and-now, you may more easily focus thoughts and feelings, thereby grounding yourself more fully in the present moment. As you center yourself, you can better enjoy your life as it flows.



In the here-and-now, our intentions guide our actions.


“What we put our attention on, we enliven”

-Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Thus, we must be willing to consciously choose to experience our real life in order to be empowered.



Our thoughts are said to create our world; consequently, we must focus our thoughts on our here-and-now to realize the results we seek.


For example, if our intention is to eliminate words such as, “should “, “ought”, “must”, and “try” a la Albert Ellis, 1959, Rational Emotive Therapy (RET), what we are left with is the here-and-now. As a result, we can narrow our list of complaints and/or problems. Being in the here-and-now allows you to focus on one issue at a time. Consequently, you can feel less anxiety about the past and the future, enabling your peace of mind.


If we focus on one task/problem at a time and do so in the here-and-now, we can be uplifted; we may actually begin to feel that we can accomplish anything. Thus, we can avoid the trap of wishing our lives away.

As Rumi wrote:

“Now is where love breathes.”



Some believe that our actions are based upon particular thoughts, and those thoughts precede all actions. (Ellis, RET, 1959) Often irrational thoughts can surface, which may include agonizing over the past and future.


By remaining in the present, the here-and-now, we can combat negative emotions and perhaps awaken to a higher sense of self.


Thus, if our actions are based upon our here-and-now, our burdens can become lighter as we have less on which to focus our attention. Actions grounded in the present moment can enable us to smile and even laugh in the face of adversity.



Now that we have discussed the history and definition of being here-and-now, let us now review ways in which we might remain mindful and present in the here-and-now.


In her book, “10 Easy Ways You Can Practice Mindfulness” (2015), Elyse Santilli noted simple ways one can be more in the here-and-now.


  • Eat mindfully – simply focus on what’s in front of you.
  • Walk mindfully- “Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet”, Hanh.
  • Observe your breathing – notice the natural rhythm of your breaths.
  • Connect with your senses – your senses are your gateway into the here-and-now. Taking note of how each sense manifests itself greatly improves your ability to be in the here-and-now. For example, smell what scents are present; taste the flavors you experience; hear what sounds you are aware of; see what is before your eyes; and, touch the textures available.
  • Pause between action – allow a brief pause between activities and again, notice your senses in the here-and-now.
  • Listen wholeheartedly – listen to another fully without crafting your next response.
  • Get lost in the flow of doing things – lose your “smaller self” by pouring love and attention in the here-and-now.
  • Meditate daily – take as little as 10 minutes per day to practice some form of meditation, which will assist you in remaining here-and-now.
  • Mix up your routine – stop brain stemming, i.e., automated routine responses, and experience something new.
  • Observe thoughts and emotions – also known as metacognition (1970, Flavell); this allows one to witness actions without giving in to the temptation of going down an old thought trail…all thoughts merely come and go.


Final Thoughts:

In 1977, Portia Nelson wrote, “There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk” in which she presented:

“An Autobiography In Five Short Chapters”


I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in.

I am lost… I am helpless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.


I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in the same place.

But, it isn’t my fault.

It still takes me a long time to get out.


I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in. It’s a habit.

My eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault. I get out immediately.


I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

I walk down another street.


With her poetry and prose, Nelson highlights the need to be here-and-now and does so with a sense of humor.  I’m certain that many of us can relate to this passage, myself included.

Through our daily practice of being here-and-now, we can better appreciate our lives and our loves.



Life must be lived in the here-and-now in order to more fully appreciate our experiences. As we focus on the here-and-now , we empower ourselves by not dwelling on past mistakes, nor “awfulizing” (Ellis, RET, 1959) over some uncertain future.


Existing fully in each moment allows for better problem solving skills to emerge. With our intentions clear and rooted in the present tense, sorting through our thoughts and emotions can become easier. Thus, by being here-and-now, we can reduce our anxieties with regards to past or future events, ameliorating our fears and tensions.


The daily practice of being here-and-now can awaken your consciousness, contributing to your sense of aliveness within each moment. As Santilli wrote, “This moment is your life”.


Please feel free to comment with regards to the value of this article to you, and what you would want to see more of in these posts. Next Sunday (3-15-20, 3-6 pm) I will discuss the “rearview mirror” analogy. Until then, dear Reader, I remain your friend.







Dr. Shanni Dover
I am Dr. Shanni Dover and I am honored to be here. I am a retired Ph.D. psychologist, and I worked in public and private schools for 26 years, both in Illinois and Arizona. I currently spend my days as a novice painter and poet, near a mountain range with my dogs as my alarm clock.
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1 year ago

I enjoyed reading this presentation. The hole in the sidewalk analog fits well with my advice to my children, which is, “Don’t dig yourself into holes, I cannot dig you out of.”

Excellent Article, Shanni! So informative

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