Being present does not have to be hard.
Too many times we make excuses for it instead of experiencing it for what it simply is. “I’m too busy.” “I’ve got lots of tasks on my plate.” “I have to plan my holiday.” “I have to attend to the kids.”
But what if what we actually desire after these to-do lists have been ticked, once we are on holiday, once the kids are tucked in bed, is actually found in presence?
We let ourselves get busy trying to fill the emptiness, or seeking something grandiose to have, or masking what we actually feel underneath, when at the end of the day, all we are really hoping for is a sense of contentment and peace that all is well, a sense that We’ve got this, no matter what.
That our lives up till now have simply been one big lesson of sorts, in remembrance that we’ve always had the resources within us to live this life.
And when can we remember that?
In the present.
Here in this moment, if I let my eyes see what’s in front of me, no matter how commonplace, I can see different shades of colour. I can see the intricacies of the object before me. I can marvel at how it got formed, whose hands had sweated for it.
Here in this moment, if I let my eyes wander at the landscapes around me, no matter how many times I’ve walked this piece of earth, I can view my surroundings as if I’ve never been here before. Nature is never the same, and I can acquaint myself to the rhythm of life before me.
Here in this moment, if I let my eyes really look at the person in front of me, no matter how many years we’ve been together, I can let myself drown in the depth of his eyes. I can awaken to the wonders behind his soul who’s made it his life’s choice to love me.
Here in this moment, if I let my eyes gaze at the person in the mirror, no matter how many times I’ve seen her cry, laugh, worry, anguish over, doubt, hate, and pride herself, I can let myself feel the fullness of what each line, each blemish has brought for her. I can simply love her just as she is.
In the present, I feel grateful that I can see my life before me.
Here in this moment, if I let myself listen to the sounds around me, I can be in awe of how the birds can sing, of the gentle swish of the wind, of the crunch of the earth beneath my feet.
Here in this moment, if I let myself hear the bustle of daily life, I can find myself a part of a community. I can allow myself to be thankful for hearing the traffic lights work to let the cars have their turn on the road, for the food truck coming to drop off food at the shops, for the ambulance coming to save someone’s life.
Here in this moment, if I let my ears open up to the conversation in front of me, I can hear more clearly the emotion behind the words, the tones of disappointment, success, anger and love. I can know this person more than I ever thought before, know from what I truly hear him tell me and not what I think he tells me.
Here in this moment, if I let myself listen to the thoughts in my head, I will hear what kinds of words I tell myself, whether they be kind or hateful, if I’m being my own best friend or my own worst enemy. If I let myself listen inward, I can hear what my body is telling me, whether she’s telling me she’s tired or still has a bit of energy to give.
In the present, I feel connected through the interplay of sound and words around me.
Here in this moment, if I let myself smell the air around me, I can have a more palpable sense of how my life is currently playing out, with the smell of dust telling me I haven’t looked after my home, with the smell of cooked food ensuring me I’m being cared for, with the familiar smell of the bath reminding me of the joy of having children.
Here in this moment, if I let myself breathe in the smell of the forest, I find myself immersed in the change of seasons. The earth is still damp from the winter cold, but the sun is coming to warm her. The trees are starting to come alive. There’s a faint smell of budding sweetness in the air.
Here in this moment, if I let myself connect with my partner, I can revel in his familiar smell, the smell of a perfectly imperfect man who will always be a mystery to me. I can smell when the day has overrun him or when his desire is coming towards me.
If I let myself breathe in this moment just for me, I smell the entirety of my being just as she is. She may be feeling fresh and lively, while also smelling ripe with the wisdom of her years.
Here in this moment, if I let myself truly get in touch with the taste of my food, I am opened up to the variety it presents me. As I crunch into my apple, I notice there’s sourness mixed with sweetness, bursting into every bite. I’ve always taken it for granted, but now I can enjoy the simple pleasure of eating it.
Here in this moment, after I’ve had an angry exchange of words with my friend, I am left with a bitter taste in my mouth. There’s the taste of regret for projecting unkindly. I didn’t let my true feelings roll out of my tongue when I wish I could have. And then I ask myself why it was so much easier during the moments when we’ve enjoyed a good laugh.
Here in this moment, I notice my mouth come alive as I let my tongue have a play of the different texture of my gums versus my teeth. As I touch my lips with my tongue, I start to feel tingles from within wanting to ripple out to the larger parts of me.
Here in this moment, as I continue to feel every inch of my skin in the spaces beneath my clothes, I come across how much I can be touched. In my nakedness, I can choose to explore what excites me and what dampens me, whether it is softness, lightness or pressure on various parts of my skin.
Here in this moment, as I let myself get in touch with every part of my body, I am brought to the memories behind the scars and what they represent to me now.
Even as I carry within my body all my experiences from the past, I am pulled to return to this moment with the aliveness that cool air can give me, with the connection that I feel from a beloved’s hug, with the tenderness that I feel as I put my hands over my heart.
This moment is our gift, our anchor, our guide, and our key to living our desires. It’s only when we disconnect from the present that we put ourselves in a position of always searching for the next best thing, whether it be a job, a relationship, a new car, a new house, a more exciting hobby.
What if in the midst of ticking off our to-do lists, we immersed ourselves in the practicality of it? What if in the midst of planning our holiday, we allowed our senses to roam towards the beach view on the computer? What if in the midst of attending to our kids, we enjoyed the cries and the spats letting us know we have these beautiful young souls in front of us?
Then maybe we start to realize we already have what we desire in the commonplace of our lives. We find we are actually full, possibly brimming with gratitude and awe, for coming to the truth of now.
Life may not be perfect. We may want it to become a bit better in some areas. But the yearning now is one to make our cup run over, finding we have so much more to give and having so much more space to experience what life can present us.
Oh, what a beautiful present it is.
This article was previously published on Rebelle Society
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