Before you continue reading, stop for a moment. Close your eyes…no peaking! Take three deep breaths and then open your eyes.
Do you see it!? How beautiful and intricate life is? That freshly brewed coffee in front of you. The caffeinated filed bubbles around the rim. The rays of sunshine breaking through your window; hitting your stack of books on the desk in the living-room. The sun making the pages of the book lying there almost look like it was glazed with shimmer. Oh yes, and the hustle & bustle of nature and critters outside at its finest!
That feeling… Not thinking of what’s next. Not remembering the hiccups of the days before. Just being present!
I wanted to share this quote with you by the great Martin Luther King:
“We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late.”
Now I know he was speaking about the concerns on the Vietnam war in 1967. But then again, isn’t it true that there can be a war within us too? We are placed so perfectly in the present moment, and are faced with the urgency of now. But reguardless of this beautiful thing, we constantly fight against it, wanting to daydream of what’s next. Always dipping our toes in the pool of the past or into the fountain of the future.
When I was about 9 years old our nanny at the time had us over at her family’s home one afternoon. Being a kid, of course all I could remember from her house was her swimming pool that was shaped like a peanut, and a gigantic hill directly behind the swimming pool. My brothers and I decided to make up a game… Everyone starts at the top of the hill and run down as fast as they can towards the pool. You win the game if you run without tripping over your feet and before you hit the base of the pool.
Well… One little detail I forgot to mention… That hill was VERY steep!
I thought this was a brilliant idea because I figured my two younger brothers would easily stumble and fall with their little baby legs carrying them down the hill. Unfortunately, the exact opposite was true. When my turn came, I was running way too fast, tripped and face first skid all the way down into the pool.
My face and neck were tattered up scratched. And I had bruises on my knees for a week. Needless to say we had never played that game again…
When we run or gallop too fast towards something way far ahead, instead of placing our feet in the right now and taking one step at a time, we can trip over our feet and most likely stumble hard.
This goes for anything, but for me I have a hard time staying present and focused on the here and now when I am planning to travel or about to go on backpacking excursion. I want to consume my mind with the fun that will be had, the organizing, and the what ifs of my future trip. Memorizing my itinerary to the point of perfectly reciting it all by heart. Counting down the days until I get on that plane.
Then I look back & somehow a whole week goes by and I hadn’t called my grandparents to chat as I promised. Or thank God for spring flowers popping their heads out of the ground after 5 months of a harsh winter. Not even taken a deep breath of fresh air!
Do I want to keep running down the hill and wanting to get to the end so badly, and I’m willing to stumble and bruise my way there? And then I turn around to look back and realize I had missed the beautiful view that whole time that you could have only seen from the top?
Man, do I LOVE traveling! It’s what sparks passion and drive in me. But it can also become an idol that I can look to, thinking it can save me from my current place for some reason.
But really, the place I am in now is just as precious! Why? Because it is alive and it is real. And the future, well honestly if I have to break it to you…It hasn’t happened yet! And those daydreams and the perception of what will or could happen, it is none existent.
I leave in two weeks to backpack through Japan, Bali, Australia and New Zealand. And amidst all the packing and last minute planning, the most important and challenging thing for me is to stay focused and at peace in today. Right in this moment.
So RIGHT NOW take a breath (me included)! Look around. Look where you’re standing. Right here. Right now. You’re present. Stay present.