I was watching my sister-friend (in my head) Oprah on her series Life Class with Deepak Chopra as they discussed living in the “now.” For the past five years, I’ve been reading about and practicing the exercise of being solely in the present moment. I concede that it is no easy task and it takes a lot of practice, however, it has changed my life entirely. With that said, I haven’t actively applied it to love, but it should be.

Over the weekend I was at a party with one of my sister-friends and her ex-boyfriend came in. Although they’ve been broken up for over a year, my sister-friend’s ex still has feelings for her and somehow manages to get her caught up every time they interact. My other sister-friend who was at the party is single and is on the hunt for a man. She’s so consumed with finding a new relationship she starts fantasizing about every guy that speaks to her. 

Although my sister-friend’s are on opposite ends of the love spectrum, I believe they share the same problem. (A problem that I’ve been known to have myself as well). Neither one of them is loving in their present moment. My one sister-friend allows her ex-man to take her back to a past moment in her love journey forcing her to revisit the drama and pain of their relationship.  While my other sister-friend is so caught up in the future that she comes off desperate instead of living in the now.

Both love scenarios lead to spiritual conflict for the same reason that living in the past or being overly concerned about the future can cause turmoil. You can’t change the past and you can’t predict the future. The only true reality is the moment that exists now. In that moment, my one sister-friend is no longer in a relationship with her ex and so there’s no reason to rehash the past, especially if its preventing one or both of them from truly moving forward.

Conversely, my other sister-friend’s preoccupation with her future dream man makes her less desirable to guys who actually are interested. Her desperation manifests itself in the way she reacts to every little thing they do. She laughs too hard at their jokes. She gets jealous too quickly if they’re speaking to someone else. In her head, she’s already planning her wedding on the first date. It ultimately ruins the process and never works out

My advice to both of them and all of us is the same. Start loving in the now. If you’re in a relationship then, maybe you need to stop reminiscing about how things were (for better or worse) and appreciate how they are now. Only then, can you deal with any love issues between you and your mate. You might also need to be realistic if you’re waiting on circumstances to change. Your current circumstances are what they are and the only way to deal with them is to embrace them in this moment.

I truly believe we make life and love much harder than either needs to be. It can often be attributed to the fact that we’re either living in the past or the future. The best way to begin living the life you’ve imagined and loving the way you dreamed is to start living and loving in the now!

Wishing you love and ceaseless joy! Follow @NathanHWilliams on Twitter.

Nathan’s book INSPIRATION: Profiles of Black Women Changing Our World is available now.