What’s does it mean to be present to life? Sometimes it’s easier to define something by what it is not.
Probably the best example in my life—those few months when I had two in diapers and was driving my oldest to school every morning. Remembering that time, it seems like one long blur of trying to load them in the car.
The only word in my vocabulary was hurry.
“Can you tie your shoes or should I? Okay. Hurry.”
Next came coats. When did that zipper break?
Then the trek down the driveway, to me a field of landmines, to them a range of treasure. An interesting rock, hurry. A fascinating bug, hurry. A one-a-kind leaf, hurry. Of course, we must stop to pet the neighbor’s cat, hurry.
We reach the car, but the fight has only just begun. Kids are born with an antipathy to car seats. Pick your strategy, but at some point you’ll resort to anything--bribery, brute force or giving up and staying home. Or maybe it’s my lucky day. I actually get to the buckling up. Reaching, leaning, pulling, pushing, fumbling around until you hear that click of victory, and you’re good to go. I turn the key and the engine purrs. I'm only two minutes late, which I can make up if I hit all the lights.
“Mommy.” A giggle from the backseat. “Me do it.”
I know it’s a giant step forward in child development, and my kid is at least six months ahead of the average, but there’s no joy in Mudville. He’s unbuckled his seat belt and he’s out!
Depending on the day, my young children drew me into deep presence, total lack of awareness, mostly I was somewhere in between.
Here’s a few of the ways I define presence now
Recognizing and being curious
Okay, I'm going long here, so I’ll pick up this subject of befriending fear next week. After all, without fear, there'd be no courage. How does being present look in your life? What's it mean to you to stop and smell the roses?
I'd love to know what you think about all this. Click comments to leave your comment below.
I'm fascinated to discover little-known stories from history. Stories of people and events that provide a new perspective on why and how things happened, new voices that haven't been heard, insight into how the past brought us here today, and how it might guide us to a better future.
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