Tag Archives: living in the present moment

Notice the Fireflies.

ID-10038834

 

I recently began as a volunteer with my local hospice organization. Persons that are referred for hospice services are presumed to have six months or less to live. Hospice services assist with their medical needs, social work needs, or provide companionship and emotional support. My interest in becoming involved with hospice is my own interest in death, dying, and assisting those that are close to death in making their transition. I will be a guardian angel for them, sitting vigil in the last few hours and days of breath. It is not a career, as much as it is an inspired calling for me right now. 

 

With the training that I received this week, and meeting the first person that I have been paired with, I feel completely at ease being where I am. And, I find myself being even more acutely aware of the present moment, and the importance of that. You see, the present moment is all that we ever have, even though it feels like our lives are based on past and future the majority of the time. The truth is, the past is merely a memory trace, and the future is just an anticipated outcome, that may or may not come to be.  Yet, that is often how we define ourselves and establish our identity in the world. 

 

For persons that are dying, especially those that are actively dying at a relatively young age, there is no more planning for far into the future; the reality is, that they have fewer breaths remaining than they had planned on or hoped for. So, presence of what is in their now, and appreciating everything that they have in their lives becomes of more critical importance. However, it is a reminder that could serve all of us in a meaningful way. 

 

I read, listen to, and remind myself daily of the importance of present moment awareness, in accepting things as they are, and choosing peace over conflict, judgment, regret or anticipation. It takes daily reminding for me to remember the importance of it, believe me. Yet, I am amazed at the details that I get to immerse myself in when I pause long enough from my agenda ridden life, and pay attention to what is happening right now.  

 

Gift yourself with the celebration of the present moment. Enjoy the symphony of birds in the morning as you awaken. Watch the puffy, changing clouds from your car on your drive to work. Breathe deeply in between the bites of your meal. And, don’t forget to notice the fireflies that glow with such mystery in your backyard. The moments deserve our full attention. 

 

IMG_7423

The Woodpecker and the Chipmunk.

woodpecker

 

I have been been going through some deep, emotional lessons in my life over the last couple of months. I have, at times, felt powerless, hopeless, and overwhelmed by what has been happening around me. I have taken on the heaviness and volatility of the situations at hand, as if it has everything to do with me. At those times, I always feel compelled to do SOMETHING, because I feel so powerless about the circumstances that are impacting my world, or a loved one. Anything that would assist in relieving my sense of helplessness. I have found myself being angry, judgmental, and feeling like a victim. I have focused on the actions or experiences of others. And, through much of it, I have not always focused on my own needs and what feeds me.

 

What I have come to understand about myself, actually, what I believe to be true about all human beings, is that we cannot truly be there for another person, love them as they are, unless we are first caring for ourselves in a deep, intimate way. Much of the time, that just means for me to remind myself to eat balanced, regular meals; to get good, restful sleep at night;  and making sure I get my body moving. When those are sacrificed by me, in the name of compassion or care for others, I have nothing left to care for them with.  In addition, if I don’t “feed” myself, with the activities and time that I need in my soul, I feel empty.  I feel like I could fall into a hole of self pity and have a hard time crawling out.  

 

So, I have been more diligent.  I write every day, even working on a novel that I have been talking to myself about for years but have been putting off continuing. I have beaten on a drum a bit. Taken some walks around town. And yesterday, when I woke up in a “funk”, feeling deeply raw and emotional, I knew that I had to get into nature. I had to go out into the woods and feel connected. Believe me, there was a part of me that did not want to, that wanted to wallow in some self created misery. But I knew that it was deeply important. So I headed to a trail that I had never been to before. I was on the verge of tears. I wanted to believe how lonely and isolated I felt from others. How hopeless everything was. But, I reminded myself to stay present, open and willing to be with myself.

 

chipmunk

 

I am always amazed and inspired by what I notice when I really get present in my world. When I first arrived at the trail, I was distracted. I was in my mind and my incessant thoughts. However, I consciously shifted that; and realized that any circumstance, no matter how difficult it seems to be, brings beautiful lessons to my life. And, that when I see others, and myself, as capable, open and completely perfect, magic happens. When I shifted my awareness, to just be present, I found myself hearing and seeing the most amazing things. The sound of the water nearby running over rocks. The rustle of the leaves under my feet and on the hills along the path. A sound that seemed to be a person hammering, but when I stopped, and gently looked up, it was a woodpecker, looking for insects on a tree. As I looked up, I saw at least two other woodpeckers swooping overhead, easily recognized with their red heads. 

 

The rustling on the hillsides were many chipmunks, scurrying from logs and trees to gather nuts, to chase one another. They are so tiny, so playful and so timid. I love catching them with the corner of my eye as they run by. One of them was sitting on a fallen tree, just looking at me, his cheeks bulging with some treasure. He kept eye contact, and it filled me with peace and wonder. 

 

In that hour of time, I was reminded yet again of the necessity and gift of Presence in my life, of Gratitude and Peace. When I am in my world, present to it, willing to accept all that comes my way, and ready to let go of my own need to control or guide, the beauty of the world pours in. When I trust that I am right where I need to be, I know I need to do nothing. And I find the deepest Peace that I have ever known. 

 

photo-13

 

 

Love is Not a Portal.

ID-10069627

In my reading and studying of The Power of Awareness by Eckhart Tolle, I am learning about ways to become more present in my life, and that the diligence to presence allows me to experience the Universality of this world; another realm of consciousness. What I mean by that, is that when I consciously stay in the here and now as often as possible, I am not focused on the future, or the past, and can more fully experience my connection to the world around me. I am also more aware of how I am a part of all that there is. This is the closest so far in my life that I have come to a spiritual awakening and seeing the light of something bigger than just myself.

In this book, Eckhart talks about some of the main ways, or portals, that he believes there are in order to access this alternate state of awareness, this connection to all. First, by being in the present moment; also, by connecting with our body internally, meaning, feeling the workings of it on a very direct level, feeling the energy within; breathing consciously, at the same time as slowing down the constant thoughts that run through our minds; and if there is nothing we can do, then surrendering to what is. Each one is effective in its own way, and each portal is one which I have utilized in order to feel more peaceful and still within. In these moments, peace feels the pinnacle of my life experience.

What is interesting, however, is that most of my life, I have believed that Love was the experience that would most lead me to spiritual awakening and peace. By loving others, and loving myself, and doing so in a nonjudgmental, open way, I would allow myself to experience my connection to everything else. That actively loving others, as a verb, would bring this about. And, I am beginning to understand now how this is not the case.

Indeed, I do love, feel love and express love to myself and to others in my world, as well as to creatures and nature that I am present to in my daily life. But I don’t believe anymore that the love comes first. You see, when I am not in the present moment, in other words, when I am focused on a past transgression or future event, I am more prone to judge others when I am around them. I am viewing them through my own filters and biases, my own expectations and desire instead of just accepting the moment, and therefore the person, as it is. So, in that sense, love does not come first; however, when I open the portal to higher consciousness, by being present, or surrendering to what is, I am allowing the light of love to shine on through me.

This may seem a lofty goal, and one that we could easily talk ourselves out of as being too tedious, or not being worthy or necessary in how we spend our time. However, for me to have a more full experience of my life, I want to be present; I want to savor the here and now and be with those in my world. I want to see life with fresh eyes and keep my heart as open as possible.

And, when the portal is open to a higher realm, the Light of Love awaits us all.

sunny cloud sky

Eye on the Sky.

photo (9)

I have a 27 mile commute to and from work each day. It is all highway driving, and it goes from Scranton to the Pocono Mountains. It is a breathtaking view, and most days, I get quite a show in the sky. The view to and from work is always a good way for me to practice staying in the moment, because it is so beautiful, and there is so much to see.

Yesterday was no exception. I was fully present, and looked to my left in the beautifully unique sky. I actually saw mint green in the sky, among the clouds gathering for sunset. It was incredible. And, when I looked back 30 seconds later, it had faded a bit. When I looked a minute later, it was gone.

This experience was a beautiful reminder to my current life lesson, that being, living in the present moment. I have been remembering more frequently to just be in this moment, right now, without worry about five minutes from now, or regret from yesterday. Being able to give myself that gift, complete presence in my life, allows me to really pay attention to what is going on right now, or who I am with in this moment, and really take it in.

Yesterday while I went through my day, I found it easier than usual to stay in the present moment. Whether I was talking to a provider about my work; working out with my buddies in the office; or looking up a topic I was interested in, I found myself immersed in the experience and learning from it as a result.

As I drove home last night, I realized that staying in the moment is easy for me when I am watching a beautiful sunrise or sunset; spending time with my love and my daughter; visiting my family; or doing something fun that I really enjoy. Staying in the moment is a bigger challenge for me when it is an experience that feels more difficult, whether that is sadness, grief or worry. Even in those times, staying in the moment is key. To fully be in whatever I am experiencing, I get to learn so much about myself, and the experience itself. I get to FEEL, every bit of what is happening. It reminds me how alive I am in this world and awake for my life.

Each day, I keep learning about how I can really get as much joy as possible from the moments in it. And, yesterday was a reminder for me that every moment counts, no matter what is in it.

photo (8)