Grounded In the Present: Now. Here. This.


By Emily Phifer 


In overwhelming circumstances, with no end in sight, we may find ourselves challenged by knowing how best to survive the day- to- day marathon of our lives.   Disruptions to our routines, plans, and usual rhythms can bring overwhelm and disorientation for even the most balanced of people.  Our overwhelm is a normal and valid response to the stressors, changes and uncertainty we are collectively experiencing.

We are normal, we are overwhelmed, and we are struggling, together.


Father Greg Boyle, the Jesuit priest and founder/director of “Homeboy Industries” organization with former gang members in Los Angeles, offered the following grounding wisdom in a 2013 interview:


Fr. Boyle: Whenever the desert fathers and mothers would get absolutely despondent and didn’t know how they were going to put one foot in front of the next, they had this mantra and the mantra wasn’t God and the word wasn’t Jesus, but the word was today. That’s sort of the key. There’s a play off-Broadway right now called Now. Here. This. It’s Now, period, Here, H-E-R-E, period, This. And that’s kind of my — that’s become my mantra. Lately, I’m big on mantras. So, when I’m walking or before a kid comes into my office, I always say “Now. Here. This, Now. Here. This.” So that I’ll be present and right here to the person in front of me.


Now. Here. This. 

Could this mantra possibly help us to keep putting one foot in front of the other in the midst of our current “desert” landscape: uncertainty, stress, overwhelm, fear and sadness? Our homes and internal lives likely feel very chaotic at present.  If this is true for you, know that you’re not alone. Guided meditation helps our taxed nervous systems and exhausted bodies and minds: 


In any meditative practice for self-care, staying grounded in the present means bringing your awareness to your breathing, your body, your heartbeat, and a place of inner centering, despite and even in the midst of the chaos around and within you. 


Can you take 5 minutes right now to stop and become more present to and within yourself?

    • What do you feel in your body? 
    • What do you see and hear around you? Messes and noise are expected. Any beauty?
      Take a deep, slow breath in through your nose, and out audibly and slowly through your mouth. Stay with your breathing cycle and allow this to anchor you for this moment.
    • If you are clenching your jaw or lifting your shoulders up to your ears, can you release your jaw, and your shoulders down towards the ground? Let any tension go.
    • Close your eyes for a few moments while you calm your body and your breathing. Please note that trembling, and even shaking are normative ways that the nervous system releases trapped stress in your body! Let your body release this stress, if needed.


We can’t change the past, we can’t control our future, but we can be present in this moment, however overwhelmed and uncertain we may feel.  Consider taking Now. Here. This. “grounding breaks” throughout your day, for bite-sized self-care. Take some time to explore what helps you to feel grounded when you are overwhelmed.  We want to hear what might be helping you to get through your day.


If you found this helpful, consider checking out Giving Your "Good Enough"