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How Now Brown Cow?

My grandfather, "Pep," used to ask "How now, brown cow?" every time we spoke on the phone. At the time, it seemed a quirky, silly thing that made us laugh. Now Wikipedia informs, "The use of the phrase "How now brown cow" in teaching elocution can be dated back to at least 1926." Interestingly, it's also currently the title of several children's books. And it's a good question. 

We spend time obsessing on the past, and we worry about the future; yet, all we ever really have is right now, this moment, then the next. When we mindfully focus on what's before us, we can answer "How now?" We know how we're feeling, what we're thinking, and why we're doing what we're doing. 

Presence– being right where you are, however you're feeling, aware and focused on who and what are before you now, in this moment, and then again in each next moment– is difficult in a world that feels designed for distraction and encourages us to multitask. Neuroscientists have proven that when we try to do multiple things simultaneously or cogitate on the past or future, we do more poorly at simple tasks, we focus less, have difficulty learning, and we accomplish less. When we single-mindedly focus in the present, we can mindfully pay attention in each moment, on purpose, without judging what's happening. 

When we create our day and tasks with presence, fully immersed, we forget time and may not even look at the clock. When pressed with a list of goals and deadlines, it helps to pause and breathe and refocus when getting distracted. Then you can get back to doing one thing at a time, with full attention. 

The past is gone and the future is largely a result of the choices we make moment to moment on our path. As you set about creating your day today, try setting your clock to "NOW," and move intentionally, immersing fully in this Now and the next. 

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