Monday, January 07, 2019

Can you ‘be in the moment’ yet plan for the future?

There’s a lot of talk about ‘mindfulness’ these days. Of being present and in the moment.

Student expressions on the walls of the APEX center at the College of Wooster - APEX= Advising Planning Experiential learning

But if you are truly in the moment, how can you think about the future and plan ahead? Let’s look at this apparent contradiction.

New Year is often time to make plans, set goals and generally look to the future.

Many of us use this opportunity to reboot our choirs or make resolutions to do more singing practice.

That’s all well and good, but what happens the rest of the year?

When you have your nose to the grindstone and are busy with your singing, there’s often not time or space to think ahead. Which is why it’s important to step back now and again.

making plans

Planning ahead is important in your practice – whether as a singer or a choir leader. By reflecting on your practice (see last week’s post: Taking stock – self-reflection for choir leaders and singers) you come up with ideas for how to develop in the future.

The opposite of planning ahead is to just coast along and go where the flow takes you.

The downside of that is that you can easily stagnate by doing the same old thing time and again.

being in the moment vs. looking to the future

‘Being mindful’ is exactly what it sounds like: being consciously aware of what you’re doing at that moment. Being fully engaged with the task at hand and not day-dreaming or thinking about something else.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t think about the future.

Make plans, but do so in a mindful way: give the whole of your attention to the planning process. Be fully engaged with task at hand. You can even imagine what your perfect future might look like, as long as your are fully engaged with that.

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Chris Rowbury



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