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  • Marwa Kaabour

I am finally living in the NOW!

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

Many years ago, and while I was a young aspiring executive in the demanding corporate world of advertising, I lived an anxious-filled routine. My days were crammed and they constituted back-to-back client briefs, agency de-briefs, endless conference calls, status meetings, and significant last-minute changes to campaigns that were meant to launch “as soon as possible.”

Plant Beside the Window

I enjoyed the adrenaline rush that came along with pushing my mental capabilities to the limit, and even when I had time off from work I would never really take a moment to unwind and decompress. Instead, I would go for intense cardio sessions at the gym.

Even though back then I thought that I had been living life to its utmost fullest potential, I was wrong. I was burdened with anxiety, and responsibilities, and always gave myself unrealistic goals to achieve in very little time frames, on both a personal and a professional level. To me, every experience represented a milestone I needed to tick off my to-do list.

While planning my next reads and shopping for new books to immerse myself in, I stumbled upon an emerging new-age philosophy that seemed to be a common theme in numerous best-selling books. It had many names and came in many forms. So many authors preached it. They spoke of the importance of living a life that nurtured feelings of love and pleasure and did not give tragedy and suffering much focus. They introduced me to the concept of fulfillment and a state of becoming content by just being in the moment and expressing daily gratitude for the many things we seem to take for granted in our busy city lives. It was called: living in the now.

These authors seemed too positive, it was as if what they were speaking about was wishful thinking, and perhaps too good to be true, I thought to myself at first. But what caught my attention was that these were modern-day people and their wisdom seemed to remain relevant despite the test of time.

Deepak Chopra, Bob Proctor, John Assraf, Louise Hay, the list goes on. They promised that manifesting the life of your dreams is truly possible, and so is living an adventurous, fulfilling, and healthy life.

Now isn’t that a state we all yearn for? So I embarked on yet another challenge of ensuring that I try and live as mindful a life as I could. I wanted to live in the Now. To truly immerse myself in every moment, and not be bound by the shackles of what had happened in the past or what could happen in the future. I knew I deserved that quality of life.

I started meditating before I truly understood what the practice of meditation was. But instead of watching my thoughts pass through like clouds in the atmosphere, I would find myself indulging in highly animated monologues, where my intentions were still bound my current frame of mind, (wanting to meet deadlines, wanting to become abundant and successful.) It was a step in the right direction, but a forced and wrongly intentioned one.

I tried meditation sessions and visualization boards where I would cut out bits and pieces from magazines and paste on a board what I thought my “ideal” future should look like. Although these practices did help me a little bit, they just didn’t feel 100% right. I was still not living in the Now!.

I was still looking at things under a lens that was too focused on earthly desires like recognition and fame – but only with positive rose-colored glasses this time.

I kept practicing these rituals for years, hoping that ultimately, one day, practice will make perfect.

Suddenly, all of this changed the day that I had become a mother. For once, colors were more vibrant, and I could really sense all the sounds around me. The atmosphere around me felt wonderful, almost as if it was masked with a blanket of contentment and security.

I learned how to give my children unconditional love. All my life, and in my career even, I had been giving while expecting something to materialize to my advantage in return. Loving my children for who they are, before they could even muster up a complete sentence, regardless of what kind of person they are going to become when they grow older, loving them for who they are right now really taught me an invaluable lesson.

They taught me how to embrace the inner child in me too. I took pride in taking part of silly gestures that made them laugh.

One morning in mid-December at around 6:30 AM, in our kitchen, I was rushing to start a new day. It was just a typical morning: cereal spilled on the kitchen table, the smell of burnt toast and the taste of cold coffee everywhere…

I paused for a moment and gazed into my children’s pretty faces, they beamed of love and serenity – almost as if that is what all those self-help books had been promising me, but even better than I had ever imagined.

Every breath I took felt like it was a refreshing and healing one, and it dawned on me how content I have become with my life. I felt proud. I was working but no longer anxious. I was giving without expecting anything in return. I was truly in the moment. The voices that were once telling me that I needed to get more promotions and travel around to more cities and learn new languages were no longer there. I felt, for once, as I stared at how my children smiled back at me – that I was truly enough.

It took me a decade but I can now proudly say, I’m finally living the Now…

Yours truly,

Marwa Kaabour


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