Wishing things were different than they are keeps your focus on what’s wrong or what’s missing. It is a very uncreative, energy-draining place to be. It keeps you from seeing the daily opportunities to create the life you “wish” you had, as the following scene demonstrates.

Frank stands on his back patio, sipping his morning coffee. “With all the meetings scheduled, I won’t get anything done today,” he thinks to himself. “Same old conversations. No new ideas, no decisions, no one saying what needs to be said.”

Distracted by his negative thought pattern, Frank doesn’t see the frenzy of joyful life happening in front of him. Two squirrels chase each other up and down the Cottonwood tree. His black lab, Jake, circling below, barks in frustration. Frank doesn’t notice the reds, oranges and yellows of Sue’s flower garden blooming vividly against the green background of the lawn.

He’s not consciously listening as his son, Sam, tells Sue how much his third grade teacher loved his science project. Sue and Sam had worked on it all Saturday afternoon, while Frank spent the time watching golf on TV, and wishing he were playing instead.

On his drive to the office, Frank puts in his favorite motivational CD. Once again he thinks, “Being a motivational speaker would be a great job – helping people build better lives. I would be making a contribution people would appreciate.”

He tries to recall what Sam said earlier about his science project as he sits down with the leadership team for the first meeting of the day. “I wish I had more time to spend with Sam,” Frank muses.

He barely hears his boss say, “Frank, you and your team will be in charge of the new program roll-out at the convention next month. This is a great opportunity to motivate our national sales team. I know you will give another great presentation – you always do.”

“One more thing on my plate,” Frank thinks. “I would rather go fishing with Sam than try to motivate a bunch of sales people.”

Frank is so focused on wanting things to be different he’s not present to what he does have. He doesn’t hear his boss’s appreciation. He doesn’t recognize the opportunity he’s been given to make a contribution to others through his speaking engagement. He wants to be more involved in his son’s life, but overlooks the possibilities by not being present in the moment. He doesn’t even take time to notice, let alone smell, the roses in his backyard.

A similar scene plays out in homes and offices every day. People focus on wishing things were different than they are, and miss the lushness of the life they are living. They miss experiencing the things that really do enliven them in their current life. The fantasy thought that something different is better prevents people from having any joy in the present moment.

It is the experience of present joy that fuels the energy to recreate the life and work that you so passionately desire.

Staying present to the daily lushness of my life,