Today for Spiritual Journey Thursday we are discussing Margaret's OLW "Present." Please join us!
How many times have I been working at my computer, and my husband walks by, speaks to me, and I respond, but don't look up, don't see him?
That's me, not being present.
How many times have I taken a shower and been so caught up in my thinking world that I didn't feel the suds on the fingers or smell the shampoo?
Yep, me, not really being there.
How many times have I, in my effort to get things done quickly and efficiently, cooked AND listened to an audio book AND helped a child with homework, all at the same time?
Again, that's me not listening to the book or to my child, or to the knife slicing through the onion, not feeling the rubbery surface of the cutting board or marveling at the sizzle as the onions hit the hot bottom of the pan.
The biggest thing that keeps me from being present in my life is ME. My mind just takes off and Will. Not. Stop.
Part of this is a result of the family disease of alcoholism, which taught me, from a very early age, that I HAD to think in order to survive, I had to do whatever I could to control my surroundings, I had to stay one step ahead of everyone else. Another reason is the dreamer in me -- how many times have I been focused on the past (often reliving or replaying mistakes and missteps) or so, so often, worrying about the future? I haven't always liked my "present."
This way of life made me crazy, and it hardly ever worked the way I wanted it to, so my answer was to think even longer and harder! Talk about EXHAUSTING. What a relief to learn that I am powerless over people, places, and things, and I can leave all those worries/thoughts/dreams/etc. to a higher power. This has given me a whole lot more time to be present in my life. And a lot more reason to love my life just as it is.
It's true that such a lifelong habit is a hard one to break! But here's the good news: just like the body can be trained to run a marathon, the mind, too, can be trained. For the past year I have subscribed to HEADSPACE, and I absolutely love it. It's a meditation app, and I use it right on my phone. I've learned to imagine my mind as a blue sky -- and my thoughts as clouds that sometimes go racing by and cover up the blue, but the blue is always always there. And with practice, I am finding that blue sky a lot more easily and a lot more often.
AND, even better news, I have been able to translate this to my daily life. I am much better now at showing up for my own life. Not all the time, but that's okay: Progress not perfection!
Now I recognize that being present is a way to express my gratitude for the life I've been given.
I will leave you with wise words from Melody Beattie:
"The magic isn't tomorrow or in some far-off place. The magic is in the moment and the exact details of the situation we're in right now." - Melody Beattie