Being Present Revisited

I know I’ve written about this before but I’m human so sometimes it takes me a while to learn my lessons. Some may even say it’s a lifelong process. . .

Anyway, this year I made the New Year’s Resolution to be more present and stay in the moment. I feel like the Universe is conspiring to grant that wish.

About a month ago a bunch of my coworkers were laid off, meaning their work was turned over to me. My first response was, “Ack! There is so much to do! How am I going to finish all of this?!?” And then I started “future-tripping” or dwelling on what’s coming next, future conversations, events, etc. But my creator knows what I need and want before I know I need or want it, so all these situations are coming up to force me to stay present.

I guess I wanted to express why I like staying in the moment, why I think being present is a great practice. For me, when I stay present I feel serene and calm. I feel at peace and like I don’t have to worry about anything because I’m taking care of what’s in front of me as opposed to what’s ahead of me. I mean, I’m not sitting on my tush twirling my hair all day, I am working, I am taking steps to accomplish what’s before me but instead of freaking out about it I’m adopting the mindset of, “I’ll finish what I finish. And if I can’t meet all my deadlines, well, I can’t, and the world won’t stop spinning.” I say that and I feel so much ease. I feel the anxious knot in my stomach unclench.

Beyond easing anxiety, when I’m present I feel myself steeped in divinity. It seems easier to believe all that surrounds me is God. Right now the smell of Chinese food is wafting through my window while my curtain flutters in the breeze. Instead of wrinkling my nose or decrying the audacity of the smell to enter my abode, I can enjoy it. I can say hmmmmmm, smell’s like God. Hmmm, look at all the beauty before me. Hmmmm, look at what God has created. I can enjoy it.

When I spiral out into the future it never ends. There’s always something next, there’s a constant queue of, “This is due tomorrow and I need to contact her and her and then that’s due on Monday and oh yeah I have to do laundry and go grocery shopping and then I need to mail that package and write that check and. . .” it just doesn’t stop. When I future-trip I don’t enjoy anything! I miss out on my life and what’s happening. I can’t relax or feel easy or at peace. Who wants to live in that state? Certainly not me.

And because I believe in providing solutions, I’ll share what works for me. Besides really noticing my senses (what am I smelling? What am I touching? What does it feel like?), dancing brings me to the present because it’s just me and the music. I’m swaying my body in time with the melody and for those three minutes that’s all there is.

What also works for me is gratitude. Feeling grateful for what I do have instead of lamenting what I don’t brings me to the here and now. Breathing deeply also helps. (Isn’t that the cure for everything??) Imagery also takes me there. Imagining myself clenching dandelion seeds and then opening my fist to allow them to be carried away in the wind lets me surrender and stay in the moment. Lastly, affirmations have been working for me. Saying, “I live in the moment and take things as they come one day at a time,” or “I surrender to my higher power and let go of my desire to control.” For me future-tripping and control go hand in hand.

I dream of a world where we all stay present. Where we enjoy what’s before us and stop worrying about what comes next. I dream of a world where we feel anchored to the Earth and recognize the divinity in everyone and everything. Where we love our surroundings, live in our surroundings and stay in our surroundings. Where we notice what we’re seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching. Where we live in our bodies instead of our heads. Where we feel joy and peace and ease and serenity. Where we live life to the fullest and savor each mouth-watering drop.

Mostly I dream of a world where we smile at one another, where we spread love like handfuls of birdseed. Where every person feels safe and content and whole. Where each person sees challenges and obstacles before them and deciphers the message God is sending. Where living in the moment means not over-thinking things. Where we do and say and express and feel freely. I want to live in a world where worries float by like white puffy clouds in the sky. Where I stay present because this moment is all I have.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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2 comments… add one
  • Dada Maheshvarananda Apr 21, 2009, 6:51 am

    Wow, sister, what a beautiful spiritual essay! Thanks so much for sharing such divine consciousness with the world!

  • Rebekah Apr 21, 2009, 7:27 pm

    Thank you!

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