Learning to be here. Even when here is a challenge.
One of the most difficult challenges of my life has been to embrace being present.
I’m constantly torn between dreaming of what’s coming just over the horizon while imagining all its endless possibilities, and revisiting memories while trying to savor the goodness of stories already lived.
It’s an odd place to constantly be. Most people gravitate in one direction — they live in the present and most of their energy is given to what is currently happening, they linger in the past and long for days gone by, or their heads are in the clouds looking to worlds which don’t yet exist or may not ever come to pass. I desire to be present but often find myself pulled between yesterday and tomorrow, especially when I let go of my soul’s focus.
A prime example of this is dinner parties. I love to host friends for an evening, make them a delicious meal, crack a bottle of something fun, and laugh and chat until well past when Cinderella is due back. But just about every time I do, I’m pulled by the gravity of the hundreds of other dinner parties I’ve been a part of; remembering them, relishing them, holding space for all the goodness that happened last week or 10 years prior. And, simultaneously, my heart leaps to imagine what goodness will come around the table, pool, or fire pit when I see friends next.
There’s also a third component at play inside me which I didn’t have language for until recently. In my desire to be present, there’s also a misplaced tendency to sit and enjoy what is happening. Don’t get me wrong, enjoying anything is paramount and it’s a practice worth growing in. But when in certain situations, the way I can drift to savoring is by trying to suck up the moment as much as I possibly can. I don’t interrupt or take away from what is happening, but I don’t participate in it the way I should and instead opt to see and hear and feel and let my heart scoop up every sensation I can manage.
Which is like trying to run a marathon while attempting to pick up and hold handfuls of jello along the way.
When I catch myself doing this, I have to stop and re-center myself a bit. Life isn’t merely for observing…