It’s an ordinary morning, before, most likely, an ordinary work day. My coffee is hot, and adequately tasty. The room is a comfortable temperature, a little cooler than I like it in the evenings. I hear the trickle of the aquarium in the other room, and remind myself that it is on my project list to change the water, replace the heater, re-settle the plants, and restock with something inexpensive and entertaining – guppies? More neon tetras? Just plants and shrimp, maybe? I love having the planted aquarium, and contemplating the planned project, I feel that pang of sadness over the fish that I lost last year over a weekend with a power outage. It sucked to come home to that. This morning, though, right here? So far it is a pleasant one, routine, ordinary, unexceptional… I have grown used to pleasantness (in spite of chronic pain, and this perpetual headache).

This is now. I’m enjoying it. How about you? 🙂

So… If you are not enjoying now, is it truly a byproduct of a very crappy right now experience (which can certainly be a thing, and we’ve all had those moments) – or are you fixated on some past (however recent) or future (however soon) moment of misery that is not actually now? If that’s the case, I would like to offer a suggestion (what you do about it belongs to you); very deliberately, and with great presence and attention to detail, come back to “now”. The real now. The true present moment. Breathe it in. Become aware of the details – even the smallest detail that feels comfortable, pleasant, and fills you with contentment or joy, is worth your attention. Find a comfortable seat. Be gentle and kind with yourself. Breathe it in. Breathe it out. Let go of the past moments. Let go of the future moments. Just sit with, and be here, right now. 🙂 No kidding. Practice that.

Practice it a lot.

I was thinking about something at work yesterday – a busy day, filled with meetings and interrupted practical task-processing workload of the sort that suffers for interruptions – and what I was thinking about is this; it’s actually fairly easy to make future-affecting decisions somewhat skillfully from the vantage point of the present, when I’m actually present, mindfully aware, and firmly in the moment…but it’s nearly impossible when I am stuck on some past moment, or mired in anxiety about a future moment that is not yet now. I gave that rather a lot of thought, actually, and used the thought to tickle my awareness of the need to pull myself back to the present moment, again and again. By the end of the day, I felt more firmly present, and in the office that’s sometimes hard to get to. Rigid processes, task processing, clear orders of operations in interlocking pieces of workload with dependencies on the pieces of work that lead up to it; while these things make work more efficient, faster, and get more done with fewer human beings, they also tend to rob me of awareness, keeping me part of a process, and less than a human being. So much less. Then, complicate that with the stress of those interruptions that fracture my focus, degrade my desired efficiency, while also directing my attention solely to that interrupted work – and specifically away from presence or self-care. Yeesh. It’s a very unpleasant experience.

By the end of my day, I had figured out being more human in an inhuman (and inhumane) scenario. That feels good – I’m hoping to improve on my presence, awareness, mindfulness – and humanity – in the office, today. How much better could work be? How much of my inhumane work experience is self-selected? What can I change or improve upon with my own will, awareness, and choices? Where will this path take me?

I glance at the time, and into the bottom of my empty coffee cup. I guess I can go ahead and get started… Now.