being present

I’m still down here in Florida on family vacation. The herd has thinned and the pace has slowed. Being in a different place without my usual distractions, I am acutely aware of my restlessness and inability to sit in the present moment. I vacillate between wanting life to speed up and slow down. A beautiful moment occurs and I start to panic about the fleeting nature life. I get sad that the moment will soon pass and in my sadness I take my attention away from the moment I am now so sad I have missed!!

At the next turn, I want time to accelerate. I want to get past the boring or tense or empty part of the day. If time drags, I begin to itch for the pace to quicken or for something more to happen.

I am working on this tendency to evade my life. I am clever in my evasion: I plan out the house I will build someday, I eat mint chocolate chip ice-cream, I obsess about my recently acquired stretch marks, I pick at my husband, I surf the internet, I clean something, I convince myself I have an incurable disease, I think about how sad I will be when my parents die.

Twice on this vacation, I have had moments of presence and serenity. I went for a bike ride with my husband. I pumped my legs. I put my arms out perpendicular to my body – something I haven’t done since childhood – and took deep, long breaths of the air through my nostrils. I felt alive and it was great. This lasted for about 10 seconds. I also swam with my daughter in the Gulf. She was thrilled to be in the water. Witnessing her experience something for the first time was wonderful.

These moments give me hope. If I bring myself back to NOW again and again, maybe I will get better at staying present.



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