Being Present

Being present was my habit to work on for this past month.  Not living so focused on what was coming next that I missed the time I was in right now.  Taking time to breathe and enjoy what I was doing, rather than rushing on to the next thing.  I had hoped that this habit would help me to enjoy the moments of the Christmas holiday season and not be too distracted by my plans for activities and meals.

So did it work? 

Well . . .This month has been a very weird blur of illness, holiday preparations and celebrations, and visiting time with family.  As I look back at the month, it has been nothing like what I expected four weeks ago when I was looking ahead at it.  I am finding it hard to evaluate how I did in the practice of my habit. Being present in the moment was a reality for me, not necessarily because of a conscience choice, though.  The need to take things one day and moment at time was very real for me.   With sickness in our home, plans for activities that relied on more than our family, and trimming down my holiday preparations so I was not overwhelmed; it seems as if I lived this past month in the moment by moment presence of each day.  

Evaluating how I did with my habit is slightly underwhelming.  A twinge of disappointment tugs on my heart as I consider how this habit effected me over the last several weeks.  I am not sure exactly how I was envisioning being effected, but the practice of this habit of being present is not what I thought it would be. Not to be stopped by the disappointment, I am looking at what I have learned.  All the planning and preparations and forethought in the whole world does not replace enjoying the moment you are in.  You can so easily miss the simple and profound joys and lessons of life by being distracted by what is coming.  And still you can live so much in the moment, that you fail to prepare and be ready for what is coming.  Most of life requires some preparation, some planning and getting ready.  Like so many things balance is so very important.  

General thoughts for this past month.

Think ahead and plan, prepare for what is coming and what you want to do and be, look to the future and work towards your goals.  Yet in all your looking ahead, don't overlook that wonderful time you have now!  Don't miss enjoying the single flower bloom because you are so distracted by the view of the field in before you.  Prepare for what is coming, and at the same time enjoy what you have with you today!

Habit of the Month: Being Present

New month, new habit . . . well, I struggled with whether or not I would do a new habit for this month of December. After all this month seems so full of activities, events, and things to do already; why add creating a new habit into the mix? The logic side of me reasoned: You would better be able to focus on a new habit once the new year started. What habit are you going to work on anyway? Maybe it would be better to wait. Then in the midst of sleepless nights due to a serious head cold and cough being passed around our home, surrounded by days of clamoring from my kids for activities and attention, my new habit idea was born.  

"Being present in the moment."  

I considered waiting until after the busy-ness of the holiday season to implement it, but then what better time than Christmas time to practice some being present.  So what exactly does "being present" look like?
  • stopping what I am doing when my kids what to play a game
  • sitting on the floor to enjoy the cookies we just baked with my toddler
  • sitting with my husband while he works on his latest Christmas photo project
  • enjoying listening to Christmas music while drinking my tea or coffee
  • sitting and watching the snow fall
  • kneeling next to my six year old and she tells me about her latest adventure at school
  • focusing on what is happening now, instead of being distracted by what needs to be done later in the day or tomorrow

I guess, it could all be summed up in "taking time to breathe."  Slow down, pay attention to the moment I am in, and just enjoy being present mentally in the now.