Archives for posts with tag: being present

Another morning. Another new day. Another new beginning. Another chance to be the woman – the human being – I most want to be. I sip my coffee and think that over. I’ve got so many opportunities to choose well, so many chances to begin again, and to practice being the best version of myself I know how to be – with an eye on learning how to be even more closely aligned to my values, more able to listen well, more willing to be flexible and kind in the face of adversity. There are verbs involved. My results will surely vary.

…This coffee cup is empty…

…Already time to begin again.

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. 😀

Let’s not talk about the election. Please just be your best self today, when you go to the polls to make your choice (if you happen to be a voting citizen in the United States). We’ll see what comes of it tomorrow.

This morning I am not dealing with petty bullshit or drama, and that feels good. It can be a difficult choice to make, and reinforcing boundaries about something so commonplace as “drama” can be met with a lot of resistance if friends and loved ones are used to hijacking other lives with their poison. We’re each having our own experience. My idea of drama may be the circumstances you are mired in, needing emotional support. My lack of interest in drama is not expressed as “no one has time for your feelings”, day-to-day, it’s more about making a point not to continuously rehash the same moment of conversation or pain, past any point of gaining understanding or perspective. There comes a time to let it go, or make a choice to handle things quite differently. Turmoil sucks.

I recently had to set boundaries with a friend who made a point of angrily slamming my door during a stressful moment with her partner; that’s the drama I’m not having. Don’t slam my damned door. Non-negotiable. Door-slamming and yelling stress me out, and have no practical value whatsoever. Use your words. Setting the boundary was easy, facing her defensiveness and resistance to hearing that she’s violated a personal boundary of mine was unpleasant nonetheless. I expected an apology, and got an angry resentful reply instead. Rather than allow that to escalate, I let it go. I will continue to reinforce that boundary. If the undesirable behavior continues, I may choose not to have that friend back into my space. I like it to be quite calm and safe-feeling here.

I enjoyed a fun evening with my traveling partner last night, although somewhat unexpectedly. Only somewhat; the quantity of drama in his everyday experience in another relationship is so ludicrous, from my own perspective it hardly seems endurable – I know to expect the unexpected in my own experience, as a consequence. Last night we let all that go, even the stress and doubt and hurt feelings and anger, we let it all go and just enjoyed each other. The evenings are short. It’s a far better choice than becoming swamped in negative emotion, chaos, and bullshit during the limited precious time we have together. We talked about the future. We enjoyed the present. We got some sleep.

Embrace a peaceful moment. Breathe. Repeat.

Embrace a peaceful moment. Breathe. Repeat.

It’s a new day. Today is a good one to begin again. Today is a good day to right our wrongs. Today is a good day to consider what we are doing (about, with, and to each other) with more care than we did yesterday. Today is a good day to have a serene heart and to choose love. Today is a good day for choices that change the world.

I woke up later than my idea of early, but while the most of the community is still sleeping on a Saturday. I returned to bed, but failed to return to sleep, and rose to face the sort of heavy gray clouds hanging low overhead that render the phrase ‘overcast’ a joke; this sky means business. The forecast agrees with my impression of the sky, and suggests rain is likely. I’m thinking about the multitude of area farmer’s markets and wondering whether the trip downtown (today) feels worth the time commitment. The nearer farmer’s market is also quite a nice one, having its own character entirely.

I hear the rain begin, a soft tapping on the tall meadow grasses beyond the window. I hear the distant persistent wail of a freight train, so far away it is mixed like a… a good metaphor escapes me; I am listening.

the view of a rainy day

Gray autumn sky overhead, and the day begins.

My thinking seems fuzzy and distracted by the many sounds this morning; geese overhead, raindrops falling more steadily, that train way over there somewhere, the unfortunately rather ceaseless sound of traffic on the nearby road, birdsong, crows conversing, all mixing in my awareness as a sort of blended, endless, buzzing, humming, lowing, rumbling… noise. As noises go, it’s quiet, and very much in the background aside from the crows, whose morning planning meeting on the lawn appears to have run long. 🙂 In this moment, the noise in the background is not an irritant, merely the soundtrack of morning.

rain

Yep. Raining.

It’s definitely raining. The patter of raindrops on leaves is quite audible now. Nice for the garden. I pause and really look out across the meadow, to the trees on the far side of the park, see that the leaves are beginning to turn. Autumn is coming. The leaves of gold and amber, hints of red or orange here and there, tell me it’s true and not just an impression on a chilly morning. I still have the windows and patio door open. It’s too soon for heaters, barely chilly enough for sweaters, and the cool morning breezes with the intoxicating scent of petrichor are delightful. The rain is back! I smile and breathe deeply.

Writing is "inactive" time... so is reading, meditating, and quietly inhaling the scent of a rain morning. There is so much to enjoy in life that requires us to take a moment of stillness. :-)

Writing is “inactive” time… so is reading, meditating, and quietly inhaling the scent of a rain morning. 

It’s been a busy week, filled with stressors that didn’t quite become a bother, and one that did. None of it seems very “real” right now, sitting by the window, contentedly gazing out the window to the meadow and marsh beyond. Any small adjustment in position reveals new things about a new day: a duck sitting just at the edge of my patio, runners on the path just beyond the playground, a cat patrolling the edge of the meadow, a raccoon mother leading her young home after a night out, songbirds taking a moment in a nearby tree, an egret stepping through the marsh gently, and even the ever-changing cloudy sky, as the clouds shift and roil into a smooth homogeneous gray. These are nothing to do with me, directly, they’re only observations through a window. Verbs, changes, choices – but not mine. I am only observing the verbs, changes, and choices of other creatures, which is my choice in this moment, and observation my only verb (trust me, my fitness tracker is pretty firm with me that writing is “inactive” time, which suggests rather pathetically that writing is not a serious verb 😉 lol). I am, however, changed – and changing.

Another perspective on rain drops and roses...

Another perspective on rain drops and roses

This moment of calm contentment and observation is a practice that I love, and it has proven to be quite powerful. It’s one I want most to be skillfully able to share, this idea of being engaged and present in this moment, right here, observing, aware, awake. It’s a meditation of sorts, I suppose, but perhaps more a state of being? When I meditate, as in seated on a cushion meditating, my observational awareness is directed mostly within, although I am also aware of my environment and surroundings, because otherwise how mindful am I really? This other thing, this “being engaged and present in this moment”, is a little different. My observational awareness is simply awake, aware, present, and engaged in living life. A letting go of over thinking and planning in favor of being and doing describes it some…

raindrops on roses

Is it the difference between saying “stop and smell the roses” and doing it? I think so. Today is a good day to test that theory. 😉

I pause awhile, considering my words, and I am again drawn into the sounds of morning. Where will today take me? Where will I take the day? I sip my coffee and wonder if those are entirely different questions, different ways of asking the same thing, or really not at all different aside from word order. My brain playfully suggests perhaps this is important enough to spend a lot of time on…? I sense an “inner child” eager to distract me with delights, and reluctant to follow through on adulthood this morning. After all – it’s raining! I breathe, and pull my attention back to this moment, here, now. I breathe in the fresh scent of rain. I listen, really listen, to the sounds of it: spattering raindrops, rivulets in rain gutters, tires on wet roadway.

IMAG8161

Today is a good day to be, and to become. Today is a good day for a journey built on choice – and built on change. Today is a good day to be here, now.

…And the rain comes, no mistake. Right now it is a steady downpour. Change is. I sit back and enjoy the rain while it lasts. Impermanence also is, and this moment, here, now, is enough.  🙂

 

I didn’t sleep last night. I’m not sure why. It probably doesn’t matter. The night didn’t seem long, and it wasn’t at all stressful, I just wasn’t sleeping most of the night. I don’t recall being aware of, or concerned about, the passage of time… perhaps I slept and merely dreamed that I was awake? I’m groggy this morning, tending to support my perception of poor quality sleep in limited quantity. Spelling mistakes are more common. My head aches. My eyes feel sticky. I’m not at all cross, yet, but hey – the day is young. I laugh out loud and startle myself with the harsh edge to the sound of it. Hmm… a good day to take care of this fragile vessel.

Sunrise. A chance to begin again, every time.

Sunrise. A chance to begin again, every time.

I cool the apartment while the morning temperatures are low. I sip my coffee. I catch up my email, and follow up on job search tasks. It’s all very organized and systematic, which is almost irrelevant most days of late, these are qualities I am relying on this morning to get me through the day. I find myself easily distracted and a little out of sorts over the practical matter of squinting at my monitor. I notice again that I am overdue for new glasses, and my prescription lens’ clearly need to be somewhat different than they are. The sunshine pours in over the windowsill, spilling across my fingers and the backs of my hands like some exotic liquid. My years are more obvious in the unforgivingly revealing summer sunshine. I smile. These are my hands. They have served me well all these years. It’s quite okay that the years show a bit. I’ve worked hard to get here.

My thoughts are fractured and inefficient. The lack of sleep matters more than I want it to. I find myself struggling to remember something (is it a real something, or have I imagined it?) that I had wanted to do today, or wanted to plan today for some other day, or…something. Perhaps I’ve only imagined it? Perhaps I am thinking of something already planned, now, and confused myself thinking there remains some detail to be planned? Perhaps it is something important – isn’t that the fear? That I’ve forgotten something important? Doesn’t change how the forgetting feels… This vague sense of something missing lingers. lol Perhaps a walk in the early morning sunshine will clear my head, and wake me up? I smile when I notice the time; I am ‘right on schedule’ for my morning walk. Funny how our ‘sense of things’ can so easily sync up with things like time of day, day of week, or seasons… It feels very natural to be preparing to walk right now.

I enjoy living life more or less  unscripted these days. It’s nice to know I can fall back on a  handful of good habits to ‘keep me on the path’, when I am tired, or rushed, or feeling disorganized.

Was it an email I wanted to write, or…? Damn it. I’m still stuck on whatever it is I feel I am forgetting. lol Today is a good day to let it go, and be mindful and present in this moment. I think I’ll do that. 🙂