He was a comedian In the 1970’s, and was probably most famous for his variety show that ran for several years on NBC television. On his show, one of the roles he created that was incredibly funny was the character Reverend Leroy, who was the minister of the “Church of What’s Happening Now.”
Although “parishioners” were wary of coming to the “church” because it was hinted that Reverend Leroy was a con artist, we loved the idea of his “church” and what it can mean to our relationships.
Now we’re not being sacrilegious or making fun of anyone’s religious or spiritual beliefs when we talk about church and Flip Wilson together in the same sentence.
Usually when we think of a “church,” we think of a place that’s sacred and important.
Add that to the name Flip gave his invented church–“What’s Happening Now”–and you’ve got a recipe for a great relationship.
Confused? Here’s why we believe that…
If we approach life and our relationships with the idea that what’s happening now is sacred and important, there’s no limit to the love that can be in our lives.
The trouble is that most of us are usually focusing most of our time, effort, energy, and thoughts on what happened in the past or what could happen in the future. We are usually not living completely in the present moment when we are with the people in our lives and it shows.
We don’t listen carefully, we jump to conclusions and we make up a lot of untrue stories about the motivations of others.
We also don’t usually treat each moment like it is sacred either, giving it our full attention.
We don’t spend quality time with our loved ones because we’re so busy running here and there–getting “things” done. We put our important relationships on the “back burner.”
What we’re suggesting is that you make all aspects of your relationships sacred, important and filled with presence.
When we’ve talked about this idea in the past, many people have said something like this…
“That all sounds good but my life is too busy. I’m barely able to keep up as it is!”
We can certainly relate to living a busy life but what it comes down to is this…
It comes down to making conscious choices in every moment to be totally present with what is in front of us to do or the person we’re with.
Need some ideas about how to do that?
Here are a few ways we practice (and it is something we do practice) being totally with “what’s happening now”…
1. Decide that your relationships are sacred and important to you and you want to start practicing being present in every moment, especially with those you love. There might be some activities that you have been doing that you’d like to stop doing or that you decide aren’t as important to you anymore.
You may be able to stop doing those if you examine your motivations for doing them. Start making more conscious decisions about how you spend your time.
2. Stop multi-tasking. It’s tempting to check email when you’re on the phone with someone or pick up the clutter in the house while your loved one talks to you.
Take the time to separate the two activities. If you’re in the middle of an activity and someone wants to talk with you, either stop what you’re doing or explain when you can be fully present with him or her.
3. When your attention wanders to the past or future, gently bring it back to this moment.
Notice we said “when” your attention wanders because drifting into the past or the future certainly is a habit but one you can begin to break. We’ve found it helpful to first pull our wandering attention into our hearts, breathe, and then focus on what or who is in front of us.
4. Be open to creating some sacred time with those you love–whether it’s your partner, children, relatives or friends–where you just devote your energy and presence to each other.
When Susie got home yesterday after being gone over the weekend, the two of us spent about 30 minutes together reconnecting. We devoted that time to us before going on to other things.
Focusing on what’s happening now can be a huge gift for not only the people we are with but ourselves.
Our lives can become richer and more filled with love when we are totally in the moment–or at least bringing ourselves back from wherever we go in our minds.
Even though we may not have founded a fictitious church like Flip Wilson, we all can be more present and in turn more loving in our lives and relationships.