Where are you today? Not generally, I mean actually right now, as you read this. Are you here, right now, engaged in this moment? Awake? Aware? Curiously present? It’s just a question about choices, about this limited precious time we each have, about what’s to be done with it.

Simple beauty. Simple moments. Awake, aware, alive.

Simple beauty. Simple moments. Awake, aware, alive.

This morning I sip my coffee, catch up with a friend, and read a chapter further in a book I am about half through so far. The morning began with meditation, and yoga, and proceeded to coffee – that’s all behind me now. Now I am simply here, in this moment, sipping my coffee and enjoying the quiet of morning. I am practicing being present.

As practices go, ‘being present in this moment’ is fairly simple in words, and rather nuanced in practice; the challenge is to be here, without launching a lot of self-directed criticism, becoming frustrated by some detail of housekeeping or task management, becoming distracted by social media, ruminating over past moments until I am emotionally invested in some other moment than this one, or progressing to wildly fantastic daydreaming that might become unnoticed assumptions or expectations lurking in the background of some future moment. I stay in this moment, and when I notice my mind wandering, or sense elements of internal dialogue that amount to ‘self harm’, I begin again. I stay in this moment. The practice resumes.

I sip my coffee. I feel the warmth of the mug, and the smoothness of the simple white porcelain. I taste the brew, the unique subtle bitterness, characteristic and not unpleasant, the robust and subtle flavors of wood smoke, nuts, moss, and chocolate of these particular beans. I hear the subdued noise of traffic on the not-so-distant streets, and the sound of the train on the other side of the park. I hear the many frequencies of my tinnitus, always there when I focus on it; I find myself thinking about setting a reminder to bring earplugs to the concert we’re going to tonight, and pull myself back to this moment, here, now. My fingers are chilly, and I feel a sense of ‘cold’ across my shoulders; the thermostat in the studio doesn’t increase the heat until… I hear the heater click on, as if on cue, and smile, enjoying the orderly sequence of events in this simple quiet moment. I sigh contentedly, feeling my lungs fill, then empty. I breathe. Relax. The rhythm of my fingers on the keyboard reflect the practice in this moment, tap-tap-tap, pause… tap-tap-tap, pause… Feeling it. Writing it. Staying here, now, with this moment.

I’ve been feeling spread a bit thin, more than a little stressed out, and right on the edge of being overwhelmed by life’s details during a busy time; I suck at busy. This morning I recharge, and reset, using this simple practice of being in this moment.I stretch. Breathe. Relax. I observe. I feel. I engage the subtle details all around me by really noticing them: the subtle shine of light bouncing off angles here and there, the temperature of the room changing, the quality of the light as day slowly breaks beyond the window, distant sounds and sounds nearby, the physical sensations of being human, the fleeting come and go of emotions and thoughts passing through my experience. I breathe. Relax. Smile. This is a first-rate moment, right here. 🙂

I feel myself really beginning to let go of the things that are not truly important to me personally, leaving behind only the things that matter most. Urgency that sources with someone else’s agenda is not by default any urgency for me, personally; it’s so easy to forget that, because emotions are powerful drivers of behavior (and cognition). The looming work day immediately feels less stressful, which is helpful; I don’t do my best work when I feel stressed out, unappreciated, or overburdened. I now find myself much more inclined to be eager and enthusiastic about getting through the day skillfully, not taking it so personally, and ready to get on with the evening on the other side. I also find it easier to recognize that it’s time to find something that suits me better, and meets more of my own needs.

I’m no expert on being in the moment, or on mindfulness generally – I practice what seems to work best for me, personally, and study. I try new practices, and keep at the ones that have good results [for me]. There are lots of resources for good mindfulness practices – some of them are listed in my reading list. Today is a good day to be a student. Today is a good day to begin again. Today is a good day for this moment, the one right here, however simple; it’s really the only one. Yes, there are verbs involved – and choices. What will you choose for this moment, today, now?