Food for Thought

On Being Present

It is so easy to be distracted.

What is grabbing my attention? Unanswered texts, past conversations, my Instagram news feed, the newest Netflix series, hypothetical situations — just to name a few.

How often do I actually sit in the moment? The answer is not nearly as often as I should. There is no moment more beautiful than the one I am in. It is all I have.

Last week, I took my son to Mount Tabor, an extinct volcano covered with sprawling trees and yellow wildflowers, located just 15 minutes from the heart of downtown. He recently started walking with enough agility where he can explore his surroundings. As I sat down on an old park bench, I watched him play in the dirt. What I saw next took my breath away.

He knelt down in the field and plucked shards of grass examining their bright green shades and rough textures. He pinched little yellow daisies between his tiny forefinger and thumb and lifted each one to his nose in order to inhale their bitter and musty scent. His little feet hopped on top of, through, and around the mounds of dirt that were still damp from the prior day’s spring showers. The birds, just having started their day, chirped sweet melodies as they swooped down to collect twigs for their nests. The pattering of joggers’ feet intermittently swept by us. My son missed nothing as he drank it all in without a care in the world. He was completely in the moment.

As I watched him I could not help but wonder when I myself had stopped living in the moment every moment. When exactly I had lost the ability to simply play? To simply be? Parenthood is a magical gift for many reasons, one of the most magical being its ability to open your eyes to what is truly important. Everything else just becomes white noise.

Connecting with the “now” and being present is harder said than done. Anyone who has tried their hand at meditation would agree. Everyone finds their own unique strategy at becoming “one” with the present moment. For me, it involves taking notice of my immediate surroundings; the aroma of leftover lentil soup stewing on the stove, the subtle rosy shade of pink on my son’s cheeks as he runs around our living room, and the soft gold morning light peeking through our skylights. These little details are more precious than anything I could ever pull up on my phone or t.v. screen. And to think — I could have easily missed them had I not remembered to be here right now.

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