October 23, 2013

i have been thinking a lot about presence lately, and how the concept applies in multiple contexts.

such as:

while playing with annabel.  am i focused on her, really soaking in all of the beautiful details of that moment?  or am i thinking about chores or studying or leaving for work?  her development seems to be moving at rapid-fire pace these days — and her current stage is precious.  and yet i know i’ve found myself drifting, or looking at the clock to see how long i have until naptime on particularly tiring days.

➤ during yoga class.  during the class i find myself yearning for shavasana . . . and then during shavasana i’m ashamed to admit that at times i’ve yearned to be done [even though i look forward to class all day!].  the best classes i’ve taken are so engaging that i truly had to stay present in the movement to keep up [and avoid toppling over].

➤ at work, while seeing patients.  i try very hard to listen and connect with my patients and hope that i am usually successful.  but when i know i am behind, it’s very hard not to think about the families in the waiting room.

➤ with josh.  i know that both of us could be better at times in giving our FULL attention to one another, whether we’re talking about work or annabel.

➤ while running.  oddly, this is one context where i have historically found great flow and a simple, calm presence.  but not while huffing and puffing on the treadmill while 6 months pregnant.

➤ in relaxation.  you would think this would be easy, but i find this category to be one of the hardest.  i have trouble with immersion in just one activity.  blogging/writing, spending time with a friend, and reading are 3 activities where i do feel present and engaged.  online shopping, procrastinatory facebook, pinterest — not so much.

all of this is challenging for me.  i don’t feel like today’s world is set up for presence.  we are overscheduled, rushing, and scattered.  ‘crazy-busyness’ is highly valued [though i believe it shouldn’t be!].  digital devices clamor for our attention with texts and mail alarms.  even as i type this, there are over a dozen ‘apps’ attempting to lure me from my writing screen.

but in truth, the struggle is worth it.  i am not always consistent, but have never regretted making an effort to be present.  and it is SO rewarding when i am successful!  even with the little things, like this morning’s reading/playtime with annabel.  it may have only been 30 minutes, but i was truly there for those minutes.  and her joyful laugh stayed with me for the rest of the day.

so, not sure where i’m going with this.  just feeling grateful to be alive — here — now — and wanting to truly experience each moment and not just let hours/days/months whirl by.  because they will, either way.

. . .and on a much lighter note, annabel’s yoga practice:
[captured thanks to my sister, who is commentating and behind the camera]

[18 month olds are always, ALWAYS present and the only thing they know is NOW.   perhaps we can learn from them . . .] 

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