Mindfulness

Right Here. Right Now.

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I’ve reached that age where I fantasize about writing my younger self a letter.  Now that I’ve done some living, I wish I could somehow impart some of my learnings, ok, my wisdom, on my younger self.  I have thought about all the things I could have done differently, yet I have few regrets.  (There was that $1,200 I invested in a pyramid scheme in the early ‘90’s; that was stupid.)  But all those experiences, and yes, mistakes, help us grow into the people we become.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

Still, if I could give my younger self one piece of advice, it would be this:  Be present.

Be present.

Let life unfold as it will.  Even those awful, gut- and heart-wrenching parts are there for a reason.  But be there for them.

I just finished the first week of a six-week program at a local yoga studio, YogaOne’s 40 Days to Personal Revolution: Lovestock.  It involves yoga (six of every seven days), meditation and nutrition.  Each week there’s a new topic, and we attend weekly meetings for participant sharing.   Our topic for the first week was presence, and in our first group meeting yesterday the leaders posed three “excavation” questions:

  1. When in my life am I present?
  2. When in my life am I not present?
  3. Where am I hiding?

I believe each of us is right where we are supposed to be at any given moment, experiencing whatever we are experiencing, good or bad, pleasant or painful, for a reason.  I am good with that.  But looking back, I get this overwhelming sense that I was seldom there.

Physically, I was there at my son’s soccer game, but I was off planning my next business trip itinerary.  Physically, I was there on the sofa helping my son with his math homework, but I was mentally selecting a new coffee table to go with that new sofa, and remembering I needed to call an electrician to hang the chandelier in the dining room, and needing to schedule a hair appointment, and…

Even now, when I finish a fine meal in a nice restaurant, sometimes all I have to show for it is a photo posted to my Facebook.  What were the textures, colors and flavors of that artfully crafted meal?  Hell if I know.  Was I really there?

Have you ever driven someplace, maybe work, and when you got there you couldn’t remember the drive there (and you were stone sober)?  Your hands (presumably) were on the steering wheel, your foot on the accelerator, but your mind was either ruminating on the past, or somewhere in the future?  I do this all the time.  DWA.  Driving while away.

We planners are the worst, always looking forward, seldom present, dipping back into our past only long enough to extract those key learnings to apply to improving our future.

So yeah, I want a do-over, but not to do anything different, or even to do anything differently, but to be fully (or at least a lot more) present for each moment.  I would hate to know in what percentage of my waking hours over my lifetime I have really been there.

The good news is there’s hope.  Realizing something is at least half the battle.  Even setting an intention to be more present will begin momentum in the right direction.  I know of two places in my life where I am pretty present:  yoga and meditation.  My meditation experience has been interesting, and from speaking to a few others, pretty typical.  It started with, “I can’t do this.  No way I can do this.  What am I supposed to be doing anyway?”  I have been at it for about a year, and it has been truly life-changing.  I look forward to sharing that with you soon.

When in your life are you present?  When are you not?  Where are you hiding?

14 thoughts on “Right Here. Right Now.

  1. Timely, that I would come across this article and your blog, because being in the moment has been in my mind a lot of late. I’m doing a good job being present this year – I know, we’re only 25 days in 😉 but I’m liking it a lot.

    I have to slow things down to do it, and decide what things I’m NOT going to get done but guess what? The world doesn’t grind to a halt if I exclude things that distract me from what’s important…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comments, Ian. It sounds like you’re on a really good path! I love your realization that you can let some things go and the world won’t come to an end. That’s hard for some of us to grasp, and even harder to live. I hope you turn the 25 days into 25 years of mindful living. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the wonderful reminder. I often find myself spacing out and thinking about other things while I should be more present in the now. I think we often forget when we are to busy trying to multitask thoughts and actions.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I understand what you mean. It has its pros and cons. I enjoy being able to do more than one thing at a time, but I regret that I am not able to give my all to one thing at one moment in time. Though I am getting better.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post. I look forward to hearing more about your experience learning “how” to meditate. So many say it is life changing, I’ve tried it a few times — all I can think about is “am I doing this right?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Cindy! I plan to write my next post on meditation. I am by no means an expert, but I hope that’s part of the charm – that I am average person trying to muddle my way through it. I am looking forward to sharing some of the highlights (and lowlights).

      Like

  4. Such a good reminder. I’m a young mom, working full time. I have good intentions of being present but I find myself having no idea of what my 7-year old just asked me sometimes. I’m not listening, my mind is somewhere else, I’m missing opportunities to be present and those opportunities are slipping away much more quickly than I anticipated when I first became a mom.

    Liked by 1 person

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