NEW BOOK ALERT: This post is a direct excerpt from the Self-Love & Self-Worth section of our brand new book, “1000 Little Habits of Happy, Successful Relationships“.
Let’s start with a story that Marc wrote about the night we met . . .
She has light brown hair, a seductive smile, and the most engaging set of hazel-green eyes I’ve ever seen. It’s the kind of engaging I can’t ignore—the kind that makes me want to engage too. Because she’s mysterious. And I’m curious. And I need to know more.
Yet, I do my best to avoid making eye contact. So I stare down at the pool table and pretend to study my opponent’s next move. But only long enough for her to look the other way, so I can once again catch a glimpse of magnificence.
I do this, not because she intimidates me, but because I think she may be the girl Chad met last night. A wild night that, he said, “involved two bottles of port wine, chocolate cake, and sweaty bed sheets.”
Then, just as her eyes unexpectedly meet mine, my opponent groans, “It’s been your turn for like five minutes. Ya planning on going sometime tonight?” And the girl walks gracefully away.
So I continue to wonder… “Is she the port wine and chocolate cake girl? Gosh, she doesn’t look like that kind of girl.” But I don’t wonder too long because Chad enters the room and says, “Marc, there’s someone I want you to meet.” So I follow him into the kitchen and we bump right into her. “Oh, Angel,” Chad says. “This is my buddy, Marc.”
And I smile from ear to ear, and give off a little chuckle . . .
Because she’s not the port wine and chocolate cake girl. But also because I spent the past twenty minutes thinking about the port wine, and the chocolate cake, and the sweaty bed sheets.
Hours later, the party begins winding down. But the band is still playing, the two painters who have been painting a wall mural all evening are still painting, and Angel and I are still dancing.
“Are you tired?” I ask.
“No,” Angel says. “Dancing is my outlet. When I dance, I transcend myself and the doubts that sometimes prevent me from being me. This evening has been enchanting, just dancing with you and being me.”
So I twirl her around. And the drummer keeps drumming. The guitarist keeps strumming. The singer keeps singing. The painters keep painting. And now we’re the only ones dancing.
As we continue to dance, she says, “I feel as if we’re naked. And not just you and me, but the drummer, the guitarist, the singer, and the painters too. Everyone left in this room is naked . . . naked and free.”
I smile and tell her that I agree. “We are naked. We are free.”
As I know, we don’t have to take our clothes off to be naked. Because moments of passionate presence flow into each other like port wine flows into chocolate cake. And if we let them, these moments can expose us completely, and continuously. And create climaxes that don’t even require sex.
Because a true climax has little to do with orgasm, and everything to do with the passion, love, and devotion we choose to invest in someone or something. In the same way, nakedness has little to do with how much clothing we wear, and everything to do with our awareness in a given moment of time—an unfettered, present awareness that frees the mind and allows us to truly live the moment for all it’s worth.
After a few more songs, Angel asks if I’d like to join her out on the front porch where it’s quieter. “Just so we can talk about life,” she says.
I give her a little wink. “I love life in this crazy world! It is crazy, isn’t it?”
She smiles. “Yeah, a world in which we can be naked with our clothes on and experience continuous climax without intercourse.”
“Because instead we can achieve both with music, or paint, or dance, or any form of avid self-expression,” I add.
“You got it. Even the sincerity in this conversation is beginning to work for me,” she says as we step out the front door and into the moonlight.
The Presence It Takes to Change Your Life
Why did we just tell you that story?
Because sometimes we need a reminder
We need to be reminded of the beauty and sweetness of passionately absorbing oneself into the present moment—into the people, the dialogues, and the priceless little events that exist there.
We need to be reminded of what it’s like to be “naked” and “free.”
Because too often, amid the hustle, we forget.
We forget to pay attention.
We forget to be grateful for the opportunity directly in front of us.
So Marc wrote a story about a night from our distant past that we can remember and recite in vivid detail simply because we were completely present at the time.
We weren’t distracted. We weren’t in a rush to get somewhere better. We weren’t resisting things, or trying to change them in any way.
We were 100 percent there.
And as a result, I allowed that night to change our lives.
Now, think about how this relates to your life . . .
Admitting the Hard Truth, and Embracing It
Where you are and what you’re doing at any given moment is absolutely essential.
Because it is the only moment guaranteed to you.
You are not on your way somewhere else.
You are not progressing to a more important time or place.
The present is not just a stepping-stone: It is the ultimate destination, and you have already arrived.
This moment is where your greatest power lies.
This moment is your life!
It might seem obvious, but, again, I forget. And I know you do too.
All day, every day, many of us feel like the present isn’t enough—like our life isn’t worthy of our full presence. It’s a hard truth, but we have to admit . . .
- We are continuously thinking about what’s to come, as if it’s not enough to appreciate what we have in front of us right now.
- We sit down to relax for a moment and then immediately feel the urge to read something on our phones, check social media, or text someone, as if relaxing for a moment isn’t enough.
- We procrastinate when it’s time to work, choosing more distractions, as if the process of doing good work isn’t enough for us.
- We get annoyed with people when they fail to live up to our expectations, as if the reality of who they are isn’t enough for us.
- We reject situations, people, and even ourselves, because we feel like we need more, more, more . . .
But What If We Did the Opposite?
What if we accepted this moment, and everything and everyone in it (including ourselves), as exactly enough?
What if we admitted that life is slipping away right now, and saw the fleeting time we have as enough, without needing to share it on social media or capture it or alter it in any way?
What if we accepted the bad with the good, the letdowns with the lessons, the annoying with the beautiful, and the anxiety with the opportunity, as part of a package deal that this moment alone is offering us?
What if we paused right now and saw everything with perfect clarity and no distractions?
Keep thinking about it . . .
Would we live more meaningful and memorable lives?
Would we have more beautiful stories to cherish and share?
I think we would.
And thus, we think now is the best time to pay attention.
Now is the best time to look around and be grateful—for our health, our homes, our families, our friends, and our momentary opportunities.
Everything is happening and changing before our eyes.
Let’s do our best to be naked and free and aware of every little climactic moment, together.
Continue Reading 1,000 Little Habits
If you appreciated the excerpt above from “1,000 Little Habits of Happy, Successful Relationships“, I guarantee you will appreciate the rest of the book . . .
Sometimes we need to be reminded to actually practice the little habits that allow us to better understand and nurture the right bonds, or let go of the wrong ones. And that’s why Marc and I just published “1,000 Little Habits of Happy, Successful Relationships“—to be that daily reminder for anyone who’s struggling to change their relationship situation for the better. It’s an inspiring touchstone filled with our best advice on overcoming relationship setbacks, letting go of anger and toxicity, fostering intimacy and trust, expressing our needs, showing gratitude, and more. Order “1,000 Little Habits” now and read it with a partner, with a friend, or solo.
And before you go, let’s revisit a question we asked above:
- What if you accepted this moment, and everything and everyone in it, as exactly enough?
How might doing so change your life?
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Wow! That story, and the underlying message are powerful.
M&A, your online teachings and course have been invaluable resources that have literally allowed me to practice precisely what you’re preaching here — letting go of attachments and making the absolute best of the present moment. Just like the rest of us, I’m still an continuous work in progress, but I can tell you that I used to be a walking, talking basket-case of busy-ness and stress mostly because I thought I constantly had to be working on the next thing.
So I’ll say this: I’ve learned that when you embrace the present, and everyone and everything in it, you put yourself in the best possible position to make a positive future impact too, regardless of the specifics.
PS: I Just ordered your new book! Congrats! I’m looking forward to reading it because I know I’ll love it — your previous one, 1,000 Little Things, is one of my favs for daily self-refection.
Marc Chernoff says
So well said, KC. Thanks for sharing. And we look forward hearing if 1,000 Little Habits makes it into your daily self-reflection regimen. 😉 Your kindness is appreciated.
The link to this book excerpt landed in my gmail inbox right when I was thinking about how I’ve been spending so much of my recent life thinking about the next step, and so few time appreciating the step I’m on.
Your opening story reminds me of the simpler times in my life when I truly felt free and alive (or naked as you put it). The way you are able to depict your experience that evening into a string of emotions and sensations that add up to that constant climactic feeling should remind us all to look at the simple moments in our own present lives to see the magic that hides within each one. Because while there is something special in all the ecstatic and exciting moments of our lives, there is also the potential for something special in the seemingly mundane moments in between too.
Thank you for the reminder. I’ll check out the new book And I’m looking forward to your 2022 Think Better, Live Better conference in Orlando. It’s sad it had to be delayed a year, but a smart move in doing so.
Marc Chernoff says
Thank you for the kindness, Janice. And I love your sentiment. 🙂
Cheryl Croker says
That was wonderful .. so much food for thought..thank you both.. I so love your posts and emails and books .. I read them all pretty often .. I’ll keep reading ..I’m sure it will sink in .. I find it’s hard to change your old thought patterns.. I’ll keep working on them .. Thank you both again.
Marc Chernoff says
You are welcome, Cheryl. Thanks for the extra kindness.
Cara Martin says
A sincerely beautiful read, as per usual on this blog.
If and when I embrace the moments of my life with more presence and without conditions, I am my happiest and most effective self.
To quote your previous 1,000 little things book:
“The best present you can give someone is the purity of your full attention. Just be present with them, and pay attention to the little things. And remember, that ‘someone’ can be YOU too.”
Love this. Now I want the book
Marc Chernoff says
Thank you for mentioning our book and supporting our work, Cara. 🙂
Mirek Szymankiewicz says
Absolutely, your “no condition” requirement is where we seem to struggle most due to constantly increasing life’s tempo triggering ongoing interruptions. Listening to our body becomes more difficult with all the “noise pollution” around.
Catherine Cat says
Your online coaching and teachings must be rubbing off on me as I found myself being grateful for the hot shower I had this morning. So many people don’t have that luxury.
Anyhow, thanks for this reminder and I’m putting your newest publication on my short list of must-reads.
I try to do the same. On a bad day I can spend the whole shower thinking about meetings, rehearsing conversations etc. So much better to get into the habit of simply BEING IN THE SHOWER!
I admit to being that person that is always thinking there must be something better, more fulfilling, rewarding etc, in the future and i must work, work work towards that as it’s just not my time yet.
But the time is now, not tomorrow, or the next day, I guess reading this has made me wake up to the present and not keep day dreaming of what could be.
I have been doing this also for the past few months now, thinking of the life I should have in the future, not appreciating what I have now, procrastinating and wasting so much time on things that don’t really matter. I think I will have to be appreciative of life NOW, and start fresh.
“You are not on your way to somewhere else”
“You are not progressing to a more important time or place”
“The present is not just a stepping-stone—it is the ultimate destination, and you have already arrived”
These words are very powerful. We spend so much of our lives trying to reach a “better place”. That better place does not exist only the here and now exists. I needed to hear this and I am going to write these words on a little card to carry with me as a reminder. Thank you!
Marc Chernoff says
Glad those words resonate, Sharon. 🙂
corina schrauwen says
This article arrived via e-mail at exactly the right moment!
After days with a lot of tears. (Trying to make a new beginning with my life together with my 2 little sons after my husband died 7 years ago and burying my brothers too with no family members left.) I am grateful for everything I have. But with the step of making a new beginning, new emotions came along too and I could not stop crying. Reading this story gives me hope of something bigger, better. That nothing happens without a reason. And being present is the only thing that really counts. Thank you for sharing your story. I tell myself that the best is yet to come…
Tracy Dahlinger says
Thank you for having the courage, dedication, your immense strength, and your humble honesty to share your reply Corina.
I too have been so grateful for Marc & Angel’s words of wisdom and encouragement for many many years. I am equally grateful for you this moment. In different ways we have had/ still have such deep struggles within our hearts. It is because of something quite exceptional and beautiful if thought about… That sorrow just means we equally are just as fortunate Corina. For we have had such precious LOVE! What a wonderful gift!
It is terribly unfortunate we must sometimes go through such awful pain, and for so long. I myself, eventually found just how strong I really am. How far I will go and to what lengths I will go to love another human being. You learn SO very much about yourself! But there is no other way yiu could have, sadly. So we must be thankful to the other person (s), whether the relationship was good bad or indifferent, they gave us so much back…
I also live with daily illness(es) that started in 2006, most likely prior, and in the last 4 years now has been in rapid progression. I am in more pain than I can tolerate from head to toe, as every nerve in my body is effected. It is in the very base of my brain and basically effects every part of my body that I’m not conscious of. My Specialists can only treat symptomatically as things occur. This has brought about dramatic changes in my life, as well as my family’s. My moto to our two children has always been “Every day is a new day! Each moment is new chance…to make a change.” For all of us now, we definitely live day to day. I myself, live moment to moment. It has and still is a long road realizing at 42, I am no longer the woman I used to be. And that I never will be. As I might spend days in bed, I have always shared your same optimism! I fully believe that nothing happens without a reason! Just like reading your message ( I rarely get to reading this part, sadly).
And Corine, your so very right, BEING PRESENT is the only thing that DOES MATTER. It makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE… Whether your enjoying laying out in the open, the warm sun rays on your face, hearing the leaves in the wind, or that bright loving smile on your child face that warms your heart, right before their arms are placed around your neck pulling you in to whisper they LOVE YOU… Because you were there with them, making him/her feel important, and that moment counted.
Thank you?, from the bottom of this endlessly loving heart, Tracy
Marc Chernoff says
Corina, Angel and I absolutely agree with what Tracy has already stated in her reply to you. And thank you both for being so brave and open. We truly appreciate YOU.
Melanie Damhuis says
Hi Marc (and Angel)
I so enjoy your work. I am in another country and the “free” aspect of your sharing is so helpful and beneficial to me. I really appreciate your generosity. I am currently completing a life coaching course and I have benefited so much from what you have to share. Once I am a fully practicing LC and have an income I intend to join some of your courses and your live events once covid has subsided.
This is a great post. I just found your site a few days ago and find it to be wonderful. Your message today is particularly relevant as I have spent the past two days focusing on the blessings and gifts in my life right now, while I am dealing with tremendous loss in my family and my eldest daughter’s illness. Thanks so much for your message. I choose to stay in the present and live in gratitude.
Lei Lani says
A simple thank you from a simple human, in a complicated world. I also wanted to let you know I am relieved 🙂 that becoming parents has not altered your advice, but has enhanced it. I have stopped reading a few blogs because the writers became too focused on their perspective of their world. Again, thank you for reminding me of what I already know, but ofentimes forget.
Ellen Lind says