Archives for posts with tag: being here being now

I am sipping coffee in this moment of leisure, on a day off. I am thinking about “being present”, and what that means, to me, beyond raising my hand when called upon, or occupying a shared physical space. It’s more than that, right? When I consider “being present in the moment”, I mean something very different than standing in a particular physical space in a particular moment. “Being present” is about awareness, connection, and “presence” beyond the characteristic of occupying space. I need more words… or other words. Different words. There’s a nuance I want to understand, and communicate, that seems harder to pin down, with regard to “being present”.

I am here, now. Am I fully “present”? I am sipping coffee. I am writing. My headphones are on, and there is a video playing in the background that I am not really listening to. Am I present? Or… am I more engaged in this process of writing out my musings than I am in experiencing this specific moment of my life? It’s something to think about.

“Presence” is a quality that can bring improvement to our cherished relationships. When our “presence” is lacking (while we continue to occupy some particular physical space), our friends, partners, lovers, family members, and even strangers near us, can feel as if we’re not really there. No authentic give and take. A lack of “paying attention” may be noted. A lack of “presence” can undermine our relationships. It’s sometimes called out as “distance” (or emotional distance) – an experience that someone is withholding not just their attention, but even their “self”, from interactions. “We grew apart”, we sometimes say, when relationships have withered and ended, due to lack of presence.

…Our digital devices are not helping with this; use of our handheld devices is a common source of broken connections, and loss of presence. A notification gets our attention, and we grab that phone, interrupting ourselves mid-sentence, leaving someone sitting right there with us, in the middle of a conversation, wondering what value they really bring to the relationship, at all, that they matter so little. I don’t think most of us afflicted thusly mean anything ill by our rudeness, we don’t even notice; we’re not “present”.

I sip my coffee, thinking my thoughts about presence. Giving consideration to being more considerate. Contemplating the enormous self-discipline that may be required to finish sentences, conversations, shared experiences, personal moments, while disregarding notifications and ringing phones; isn’t living “real life” in the moment, present with the person you are with more important that some remote digital “conversation”? Expectation-setting and basic manners are probably useful in those situations. “Excuse me a moment, I’d like to reply to this message.” Simple enough. Or, hey, better still? Let that message sit there while I enjoy the moment with the real human being who values me enough to be right there with me in that moment? Probably a good choice, where healthy relationships are concerned, generally. lol

I continue to sip my coffee. I pull myself back to this quiet moment I am enjoying with myself – don’t I also deserve a moment of my time, fully present with myself? Isn’t that what meditation is “about”?

I make a second coffee, and restart that video; I didn’t actually watch it, my attention was divided. 🙂 It’s time to be present. It’s time to begin again. 😀

I woke before dawn. As daylight began to shift the darkness to light, a foggy damp morning begins to reveal itself. Colder than yesterday, but not icy, probably a good one for an early walk, I think to myself, rather unenthusiastically, as it happens.

I consider the morning, and the moment.

I sip my coffee, dressed for walking. Yesterday it took a peculiarly long time to “talk myself into it”, and strangely, I was still halfheartedly trying to excuse myself from not going for a walk, although I feel better, and enjoy my day more, when I hit the trail for a couple of miles. That time alone with my thoughts, free of media inputs and other consciousnesses, is more than valued; it is part of what keeps me mentally and emotionally well. Dodging the effort is not a helpful thing. So, out I went. I returned home feeling sated, refreshed, and accomplished; 3 miles felt comfortable. The hill is no longer daunting, it’s just a hill.

This morning, I know I’ll go. Soon. I’ll finish this coffee, and lace up my boots, grab my cane, and go. I may drive up to the path along the Columbia river, this morning. Seems a lovely morning for it.

The morning continues to lighten, as the day develops, quietly.

There is so much disappointing chaos, corruption, and madness, in the world right now. I sometimes find it terrifying. I nearly always find it disheartening. I walk in the mornings, listening to bird song and breezes, and the sound of my footsteps, and let all of that go for at least a couple miles, and a handful of pleasant moments. The weekends feel shorter without the walks. Funny how this time spent with – and for – myself can seem to “stretch time”. I breath, exhale, and relax. I feel the hint of a smile on my face.

…Nice morning for walking…

My mind wanders pleasantly to the Spring ahead. Is it too soon to plan that first camping trip? Where would I go? The coast? The forest? Will the end of March (specifically, the Vernal Equinox) be too soon? (I don’t much like camping if the evenings/nights are cold; it makes my bones ache.) The winter has been strangely mild, perhaps the Spring will be unusually warm? (It may be unusually cold…) I smile at my own eagerness, sipping my coffee and delaying the start of my walk, to consider walking elsewhere, weeks from now. I am amused, without irritation, at the implied internal conflict. This morning, I am gentle with myself, uncritical, and unhurried. There is time for meditation. Time for coffee. Time for the outside temperature to warm up another degree or two. There is even time to recharge my wearable device, so handy for tracking my mileage.

I contentedly dilly-dally over my morning coffee, savoring the morning quiet. I appreciate it, and it is enough.

Mindfulness, perspective, & sufficiency: ingredients for a lovely morning.

I finish my coffee and lace my boots. It’s time to begin again.

I spent yesterday tidying up at home, and waiting for my insurance company to send someone. Still needing to find serial numbers, receipts, and the sorts of documentation insurers may want on items that have been stolen, I spent the morning combining the search with the housekeeping. It’s been more than 24 hours since I came home to the chaos of the break-in; I still find myself checking all the doors and windows to be sure they are locked, as though that would have made a difference (it’s my default to keep them locked).

Most of the lingering anxiety and agita have diminished. Late in the afternoon, an actual detective stopped by, asked some additional questions, photographed muddy footprints under the window through which someone (or multiple someones) accessed the apartment on Tuesday late in the afternoon. His visit, encouragingly, came with the suggestion that it is possible they found one or more of my belongings in an area pawn shop (well, that’s where they would have been headed, sure).  I find myself hoping it is the laptop, willing to shrug off the rest as “excess baggage”. He seemed very pleased that I had the serial numbers, receipts, and invoices.

There’s one thing about this experience that I know the recovery of my stolen goods won’t restore, and no amount of investigating will resolve it; this place no longer feels safe. This place is no longer “home” – at least not now. Maybe that will change? I’m open to that – change is. I know my heart, pretty well actually, and I suspect this moment will continue to catalyze the search for a more permanent long-term residence on a mortgage instead of a lease. In the meantime, I suppose I won’t be too hard on myself for checking doors and windows, or waking up feeling wary in the darkness. Under the circumstances, those things are no longer a matter of “being silly” in a “perfectly safe place”, just a reaction to a demonstrated lack of security in an unsafe world. Wow. That sounds pretty grim.

A pause to appreciate something nice can be so helpful. :-)

A pause to appreciate something nice can be so helpful. 🙂

I take a few minutes to breathe deeply, to relax. I sip my coffee in the predawn quiet. I am at the dining table. The quiet here isn’t silence. The trickle of the aquarium, the noise of the refrigerator, the distant whine of a train idling at the platform, the tick of the clock, and my tinnitus, all remind me that quiet is not a volume setting, it tends rather to be a place I find within myself. I’m not there yet. It may be awhile. I nod knowingly, to myself, and correct my posture – as though that changes anything else, at all. Well, if nothing else, it feels correct (and therefore corrected), which also feels more comfortable – and more ordered – which tends to promote that sense of “things being okay”, that often precedes a sense of safety… all of which I need to feel “at home”. I’ll get there yet. It’s a journey, and I’ve had to begin again.

The panic and hysteria of Tuesday night are behind me. Now it’s tasks and processes, restoring order, finding a feeling of safety again, and recovering my quality of life along the way. The insurance company let me down and missed on their service level agreement, by failing to reach out to be before 5 pm last night. Humans being human, no doubt. I never found myself angry about it. I didn’t honestly want the face-to-face contact with strangers in my space to continue. The day spent alone, quietly, was good healing time spent tidying up, and meditating. It felt enough of a relief from distraction that I am now acutely aware that the TV – really, video media of many types – had overstayed its welcome, and exceeded whatever unstated ideal use standard I apparently do have. I’m not missing it.

I didn’t sleep much (or well) on Tuesday, and I was too fatigued to make much sense of things, yesterday. Most of the day I was fairly numb, and focused on practical tasks – the doing of which was keeping me awake for the expected arrival of the insurance person. Once 5 pm came and went, I began to wind down for the evening. I don’t recall if I had dinner… I remember having lunch (around 3 pm, I think). I crashed for the night very early – around 7:30 pm? I woke to the alarm. I smile, recognizing that I clearly did feel safe enough (and fatigued enough) to sleep deeply. I take a moment to sit with that awareness for some minutes. My conscious perception of safety is not a perfect match for my implicit awareness – and taking time to be aware that I feel safer that I may suggest to myself when I think about it seems worth doing. Thoughts and feelings are different elements of our consciousness, neither is the ideal leader (for me); I work toward balancing them. Being very human, I mostly practice. I often fail. I’m okay with the failures; I learn the most from those, and I can begin again (apparently) any number of times. 🙂

I notice the clock; it’s already time to get ready to head to the office. I go to the studio to grab my laptop bag to more comfortably return to the office with my work laptop (I brought it home from the office in a tote!! lol)… and discover that my laptop bag is… gone. Well, of course. They took the laptop, only makes sense that they’d have looked all around the place for the laptop bag that was carefully put away in the back of a closet. So weird. I’m guess I’m glad they took such care… I mean… if I get it back it will lovely if it isn’t scratched up or wrecked. I feel a wave of anxiety sweep over me. “What am I not noticing is missing??” I take another deep breath, and relax; if I haven’t noticed it is missing, how important to me is it really?

Today is a good day for perspective. Today is a good day to stay engaged in this present moment, right  here. I am okay right now. 🙂 Still takes practice. 😉