Posts Tagged ‘now’

Just a short while ago, I was sitting and cooling down after a long, hot Epsom salt bath. I was soaking out the rest of a cold, and the tension I’d worked on earlier.

As I was relaxing and breathing in the fresh air, the thought came to me, “This moment is like no other.”

So I stopped to make note of what made that moment so unique. I’d come out of hot soaks before, but I have a different meditation and relaxation each time. So I suppose, I come out of them a little differently each time as well.

I had also certainly had “working sick” days, but I’d struck a better work/rest balance today. My toddler had a particularly rough time getting ready for bed, but I’d helped him shake it off and go to bed pretty amiably, even playfully. So I suppose those were differences as well.

All that said, I’m not sure the details are really what I was trying to draw my own attention to. Even if I had that thought during a truly unpleasant experience, at least that exact experience wasn’t going to repeat in exactly the same way…

It comes down to the observation about snowflakes: however invisibly they may join together in a drift, they hold a unique pattern, according to the exact conditions in which they formed. Simply acknowledging the beauty of that truth acknowledges the precious gift we can enjoy in receiving each present moment.


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I’m getting ready to turn in, and I find myself struggling against the “Sunday night blues”. You know, that resistance to the weekend being over, knowing the next morning starts the workweek again?

Yes, I’ve had a great weekend, and no I don’t feel like getting up in the morning to go to work. But I didn’t feel like getting up this morning, either. I was able to sleep in a tiny bit, but it was when my son gets up and needed to be taken care of. I love spending time with my son, and adored having the morning together. If I don’t resent having to wake up before I feel like it on Sunday, how does it help to resent it Monday?

And really, how does it help to resent any present moment one finds oneself in? I’m generally pretty good about enjoying each day as best I can rather than “living for the weekend”, so I’m surprised at how much I’d rather have another Sunday tomorrow.

Regardless, Sunday or Monday, I’ll need to get up before I feel like it. So I may as well go relax into restfulness and have some sweet dreams.

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Happy Zen Year!

So, 2013. What a year, huh? It was so full of hidden gems and other rocks & hard places, it was tough to stay present in our own skin. There was too much popping up all at once, and too much falling away. How could we keep up?

I heard once that odd numbers hold more chaos and even numbers more constancy, so that made me think that perhaps I could apply that concept to years. If 2013 was chaos that kept the world off its center, perhaps 2014 may be a year of regrouping within that center.

So I’m committing to focus at least one moment each day in a way that brings my full attention to that present moment. I’m shooting for actually posting about that moment or other thoughts each day, to stay present here, as well. Part of my joy is to share what I receive with others. This 2014 is a year to dedicate to joy, being present with it and sharing that presence with others.

You who read this, regardless of when you read it, please consider making a similar commitment to dedicating a tiny slice of each day to connect to the world through your own center. No matter how you feel about yourself, you’re a part of this crazy planet, and we need you to honor that. You don’t have to do anything “special”, just pause with a breath and thank any random moment for allowing you to experience it. That alone will bring you into that precious moment, and experience the simplicity of pure presence that is zen.

It’s time to start showing up. I and the rest of the world dearly look forward to sharing it with you.

Here’s to a Happy Zen Year!

Note: This was actually posted on the 2nd, when the thoughts finished forming into words I could type. Clearly, I’m pretty fluid on the implementation of this goal. Just be who you are and let life flow through you!

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So today marks the first official day of my week-long vacation.  I’m staying in town, so it feels “just like another Saturday”, and I’m wondering whether I’m sufficiently enjoying the day, seeing as it is “First Day of Vacation”.

So I’m taking a moment to breathe.  I’m noticing that this is the first truly sunny day we’ve had in a while.  My son is in a handful-but-joyous mood.  I’m feeling fairly rested.  I just pulled a freshly baked loaf of bread out to cool.

Gosh, this is a wonderful day.

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I was talking to a friend today about overcoming Worry Addiction. I used to be horridly addicted to worrying and fretting, and now I’m merely susceptible.  This is thanks to giving up worrying for lent one year.

I’m pretty sure the way I managed it was practicing “postponement” – agreeing with myself that right now isn’t the best time to put my energy toward a situation, as this present moment isn’t when I can do anything about it. Either I don’t have all the necessary info, or I’m just not in a place where it can be helped. Therefore, I promised to do what I could to get into the right time and place and then put the needed energy to it.

This worked, with practice, because the part of myself that felt the deep importance of whatever it was I was worrying over didn’t feel neglected. It felt that I was giving it strong consideration, and rather than dismissing it, was merely trying to make sure it got the time and energy needed for such a momentous issue. (It doesn’t matter how trivial the issue; it’s absolutely EVERYTHING to the part of me that feels it’s so important, just like a baby with a favorite toy.)

It also helped to have a few things on tap to shift my attention to, such as something I COULD plan for, especially if it was something I could also look forward to. Or even just something positive to dwell on. Anything to keep the energy channeled toward something happy rather than manic.

Anyway, I still catch myself getting frantic now and then. But with practice, it’s gotten easier to redirect the energy.

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So I’ve figured it’s time to practice saying ‘yes’ to things again. The idea is to accept whatever crosses your path for a few days. A ‘no’ is acceptable only when needed to avoid a truly bad idea.

The fun thing is that it seems like more good things show up once the welcome mat is put out. Whether the increase is in happenstance or happy attention, I don’t much care — more goodness is more goodness.

Besides, I’ve been cranky lately and could use the change of pace!

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I have just one reason for not posting again on a regular schedule…

My ‘present mind’.

While at times it will jaunt off into an internal tangent and take me somewhere completely removed from a current situation, generally my mind is on exactly what’s in front of me.  And little else.  Meaning thoughts I had even moments before entering the room, intending to do something very specific, are gone completely when something there needs even a moment’s attention.  The past is fully in the past, even if I’d intended to bring it into the future.

This means that not only do I need a list to go shopping, but I also have to take measures to ensure I remember to bring the list. It also means that unless something is such an established habit that it has become a part of the schema of where I’ll naturally go — it won’t happen.  Almost no matter how much I want it, chances are good I’ll forget.

So when reading about the ideal of the Present Mind, focusing and knowing completely only that which is before you — don’t take it too literally. Oh sure, it’s a valuable skill to be able to pull off, but only when it’s appropriate. It’s not meant to be an ‘all the time’ thing.

If you don’t believe me, try it for a while, and see how many possible ‘presents’ go unopened…

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It’s been some time since I’ve had a day of doing virtually nothing. I was able to casually take care of a key responsibility without really losing too much time, and also zip through some things for work. But mostly I caught up on a couple games I’d been meaning to play, and ate cookies and cookie dough.

I didn’t get a nap, but I did get to chill out on the couch while doing all this. Without a single thought as to what couldn’t (or wouldn’t) get done before the clock tolls twelve.

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Before turning my calendar to October (which I forgot to do yesterday), I want to make sure I’ve shared the quote from last month –

The mind can go in a thousand directions.
But on this beautiful path, I walk in peace.
With each step, a gentle wind blows.
With each step, a flower blooms.

– Thich Nhat Hanh, from “Present Moment Wonderful Moment”

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I’ve got this quote on my desk from Michel de Montaigne, one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance through the mid/late 1500’s. His writing style merged very serious ideas in with casual stories about himself and his thoughts, which many at the time considered strange and self-indulgent. Personally, I think he’s got some really great ways of showing a zenlike life, shared in a very personal and accessible way.

Here’s the quote:

When I dance, I dance; when I sleep, I sleep; yes, and when I walk alone in a beautiful orchard, if my thoughts drift to far-off matters for some part of the time for some other part I lead them back again to the walk, the orchard, to the sweetness of this solitude, to myself.

– Michel de Montaigne

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