I am finding more and more ways to be in the present. It is what I have been doing this year and it saves me from all the thinking my mind wants to do. I’m trying to do this, I mean. I’ve noticed the active effort that I have been making. Some of it is working, and some of it is not. Even my choice of profession – my calling moves me in this direction. I am completely, one hundred percent present at every single birth I do. I had a beautiful Monday – full of births in the middle of big emotions. The births I attended brought me right back to where I needed to be: here and right in the moment. Thankfully. The beauty, the seriousness and joyousness reminded me of where I wanted to be. In the here and now. It’s a lofty desire, but birth accomplishes it for me.
Yoga has done this for me as well. I usually arrive at yoga class (sometimes late) with my mind spinning. It takes a few vinyasas for me to forget what I was thinking of. Sometimes I only forget briefly as I move through the positions, but often my mind is quiet until I leave the studio.
I started skiing. I did! We live in a ski town! It is the steepest mountain in North America, it is truly stunning! Beautiful! I have never skied before now. I’ve been slowly gathering gear, I’ve been watching my girls ski since the third grade – six years now, but I have never put on downhill skis or boots myself. My oldest is an insane skier (actually terrifies me) and my youngest loves it as well. They are growing up skiing, they are good at it and do it with joy. A close friend has been talking to me about skiing for more than a year now, I felt resistance to it due to the finances. It’s an expensive hobby – and I just didn’t know if I would be able to learn it at this late age! Finally, after much convincing, I gave in and took a “never ever” lesson – an all day lesson up at the ski valley and I learned! I worked hard, I rode the ski lift. It was stunningly beautiful up there. I watched Kaya scoot all around me, up and down and just everywhere with an ease and confidence that I am not sure I will ever attain. My second day was even better, but I was challenged to a run on the mountain – my first run away from the bunny hill. (Strawberry and Rugli) It did bring me to tears. It was hard and wonderful, but scary as well. I wasn’t too sure how I was going to get down – but I did. I finally did.
On the lift, towards the end of the day, I realized that I hadn’t thought about anything the entire day. I had concentrated only on being in my body. I was present in a way I never usually can be. Like a birth, it took no effort to be fully aware of what was right in front of me. Skiing was, for me, like an all-day meditation. (A successful meditation.) My mind was focused, concentrated and only in the present. My body worked hard and I felt my muscles being challenged in a way they are not usually.
I am so happy to think I am finding these ways to truly be present and rewire my brain in this way. What are the benefits of being focused and “in the present?”
“Improved concentration. As you become able to focus on the present moment for longer periods of time, you find fewer distractions and you experience improved focus and concentration.
Improved effectiveness. One of the gifts of living in the present moment is that you become much more effective; you find yourself getting more things done in less time, effortlessly.
Increased relaxation. When you set your mind to focus on the present there is no room left for thoughts of worry about the future or regret about the past. In this way, you find yourself relaxing into whatever it is you are doing.
Direct-felt experience of reality. As you focus on the now, the stories in your head about what’s going on tend to fall away, and you start experiencing reality directly, without labels. You then stop thinking that something is “good” or “bad”, and start simply feeling.
Outmoded beliefs fall away. As you stop labeling what’s going on, beliefs that no longer serve you will come to the surface so that you can recognize them, and then they will fall away little by little.”
excerpted from another blog……
One more thought. I love knitting and crocheting. Both of these crafts are mind quieters. The repetitive motions of the hands, that same focus on the stitches….. this is another way, for me, to still my mind and to be in the present. What do you do to find that stillness?