I took a seminar a few years ago with a good friend of mine, and one of the main mantras the presenter kept repeating was, “Be Present.”
I think that is so relevant, especially now since most of us have become so dependent on technology. Waiting for the bus? Pull out your Blackberry to BBM your friends, catching up on the latest news since you last spoke the night before. On a train? Watch movies or shows on your laptop to pass the time with laughter, rather than boredom. Stuck in traffic? Turn to your iPhone to post an angry update via Facebook about how stupid people shouldn’t be allowed to drive.
I’m guilty of all of the above and more. We don’t take time to appreciate the moment anymore. Last night while lying in bed trying to sleep, my mind was wandering down Thinking Too Much Lane. Stepping foot back into the office after having been away for 3 weeks (horror!), how I have a new beautiful iPhone 4s waiting for me at home when I get back (an early birthday gift from my parents – YAY!!), planning our trip to the US for my friend’s wedding in September, visiting both Georgia and NYC (first time bridesmaid!).. My mind just wouldn’t stop!
Then it hit me.
I was in a warm bed, cuddled next to N, staying in a lovely house in the mountains of Lozere, France. France! I also have to highlight “cuddled next to N” because it’s not something he and I can take for granted, having been in a long distance relationship for most of our almost 2 years and 2 months together. Our trip has given us 3 beautiful weeks together. That’s the most time we have had with each other EVER since the start of our relationship. I should be relishing in this time, feeling lucky, NOT anxious about things that haven’t even happened yet! I brought myself back to the present, to the moment, listening to N’s heartbeat, feeling the rise and fall of his chest, and I slowly drifted off to sleep, lulled by the sound of his breathing.
I am reminded of this now, while on a 2.5 hour bus ride from Lozere to Clermand Ferrand. If I was lost in my iPhone, or watching Modern Family on my laptop, I’d be inexcuseably missing out on the beautiful sights this part of the country has to offer. The snow capped mountain tops, partially frozen rivers, horses standing valiantly upon white fields, long icicles hanging delicately from cliffs, small clusters of towns spread scenically over the landscape
Gorgeous. Seeing and appreciating all this, with N sleeping in the crook of my elbow.
(Yes, he’s passed out. He can sleep in any position, and it never ceases to make me chuckle. This is one of the less entertaining ones, but I still couldn’t resist taking a photo).
If you look at the bigger picture, all those moments add up. Look at how much we can, and do miss out on. You can put a pause on technology, but no matter how advanced we get, we can’t ever put a pause on time. We need to learn how to be present. To be with, and live in the moment. To appreciate where we are, who we are with, and what is happening right then and there. This reminds me of another mantra that should we should all remember. “This too shall pass.” Whether things are great, or they could be better, the moment, and everything encompassing this moment, will pass.
So bring your eyes up, tune your brain to now, your senses, and release yourself to the moment.
(A side note: I know it’s ironic of me to be typing about losing out on living in the moment, while on a bus, but when you get hit with the inspiration to write, you just gotta roll with the punch. I’m going to stop now though because starting to feel ill from motion sickness, and I still have a 4 hour train ride to tackle after this.)