You Are Here
As a child, I used to practice what I called “Now-ing”. I would slip outside and steal away somewhere beyond the prying of my mother or the pestering of my siblings. Then, I would plant my feet firmly, stretch out my arms, take a deep breath, and think about Now.
NOW I could smell the gentle aroma of lilacs, and the sweet mustiness of the old barn, and the hopeful anticipation that comes with June.
NOW I could see a painter’s palette of a flower garden, and a dejected Super Soaker gun, and a sunset so delicate I wonder why the world is not made of porcelain.
NOW I could feel the long grass wrapping around my pinky toe and the warm sun kissing my forehead before it turned in for the night, it's yawn a gentle breeze.
I would stand like this until I felt like I was truly feeling and appreciating as many of the stimuli that my body was experiencing as possible. I was a weird kid; a freak of a child, really.
And yet, it was in these moments that I felt more alive than ever; as though I was not merely a shell of a being gliding upon the surface of each moment. I was a dusty-shoed traveler who rose and fell with the crests and dales of the land and not like those who soared effortlessly in the planes above.
I felt alive – infinite, even – because I was truly living in the moment (for lack of a better phrase). I was experiencing Now in all of its naked, raw, spectacular glory. It is a difficult sensation to express if you have never forced yourself to focus on it. You must force yourself, because NOW (unlike past or future) is quiet and modest and will not elbow its way to the forefront of your thoughts. Rather, it is very much like that child who stands on the outskirts of group and quietly observes, not speaking until asked to, and when asked to, utters something so deeply profound you scold yourself for not calling on them earlier.
Why is it that the most important things are the easiest to overlook?
I challenge you to make yourself aware of how often your thoughts are not in the Now, but in the future. When I forced myself to become conscious of this I was appalled at how little time I spent really appreciating Now. If not days or months in the future, my thoughts were often focused even ten minutes from the present moment.
If you would like to eschew this habit, I suggest spending more time with children. Having worked as a full-time nanny during which I spent all day with two year old twin boys, I quickly noticed the difference between the way our minds worked.
My thoughts: I will take them on a long walk to tire them out. Okay, that was long enough now I have to get them back to the house quickly so I can feed them lunch and put them down for a nap. What should I feed them for lunch? I hope J falls asleep easily so I can have my lunch. And if he doesn’t sleep then he will be grumpy later. And he’ll probably fall asleep during dinner. And then he will wake up just before bed time and won’t sleep at night. And then he’ll be grumpy tomorrow. Dang it, they’re all dirty now and I’ll have to give them a bath. J hates baths, I hope he doesn’t throw a tantrum.
Their thoughts: Oh nice, we’re going on a walk. Look Katrina! I bug! I will stop and watch the bug for ten minutes. A stick and some mud! I should sit in the mud and draw in it with my stick. I’m hungry.
A child is not thinking what will happen five minutes from Now, much less a month or year. Ah, we can be taught so many valuable lessons from the ones we are trying to teach.
But why is it so important to focus on Now? Isn’t it wise to plan, and prepare? What ramifications come from fixating on the horizon ahead or the sea behind rather than the dirt beneath our feet?
Stay tuned my loves.