Wherever You Are, Be There
I love to hike through the woods. Hiking a very small section of the Appalachian Trail with my husband forced me to be where I was or I would have tripped on stones or fallen off the side of a cliff. Playing sports, creating art, or playing music engages our senses to the point where we have to be there or suffer the consequences. Recently, I came across a book entitled “A Sketch & a Prayer,” by Mike “Sketch” Wurman. Mike is a section hiker on the AT and has written two books which include his own pencil drawings and photos of his AT experience. While hiking, he ran into a man who’s trail name was “Redlocks”. Redlocks is a thru-hiker, a different breed. He sleeps in a hammock and plays guitar on the trail. He is quoted as saying, “You just have to take the moment.”
What activity do you engage in that helps you “take the moment”?
I like that phrase, “take the moment”. Often, we want to by-pass the moment, having it move forward as quickly as possible, without really feeling it. Feeling or “taking the moment” can be difficult and painful. In the technology era, we can become so distracted that we just miss moments. Parts of our lives pass us by, without us even experiencing them. We miss sunsets, song birds, and smiles. We use technology to escape from our feelings and emotions, even the “good” ones.
Walking in nature or practicing yoga are two activities I use to be in the moment.
When we lack connection to breathe, body, and spirit, we become dis-eased. Dis-ease or uneasiness correlates the feelings of anxiety and can lead to depression. Life is intense. The more we engage technology or even life itself, the pressure increases, as we process all the incoming stimuli. Overwhelming feelings take over like a storm across the clear blue sky. These clouds are passing. Instead of trying to defend against them, hide from them, or collect the released water, it may be best to just let the rain fall and get wet. Then we can dry off and move forward. If not, we just stay wet.
“Wherever You are Be There," starts with mindfulness. Last month I started a class called Mindfulness Fundamentals, through Mindful Schools.
Mindfulness is about attention and awareness. It is not concentration, a focus on one thing, but rather recognition of your thoughts as they flow through your mind, acknowledging or thanking them, and then bringing your attention back to the moment at hand. You are only responsible for the moment. Breath is the starting point.
In times of stress, you have the power to bring mindfulness back to your mind, body, and spirit by being where you are, feeling it, and breathing through it. This allows space between the chaos. It allows a moment of pause to silent and calm the inner turmoil and bring your awareness back to the present. Practice being where you are in order to live life to its fullest potential.
Susan J. McFarland
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