Please excuse my temporary silence. I started this journey as undisputed captain of my blogging ship, but when I put in to shore to see the sights, it floated back out to sea without me. It took some swimming against the tide, but I’m back at the helm now.
Since I’m already on the subject of digression, today’s post is a swerve from the norm as well. Lately, the whole thing about being “in the moment” has been clicking more with me. It can be hard, in the digital age, to be fully present and consciously aware of what is happening *right now.* When your attention is divided between several things at once, and you’re simultaneously planning, anitcipating, and executing tasks and communications, it’s impossible to experience presentness.
As I become more aware of this, the reminder to be present is beginning to occur to me on a daily basis—usually when I’m doing something “unfun”—and when I’m able to contain the maelstrom of thoughts that wants to constantly spin outward, and direct my awareness and senses to just that very moment, just what surrounds me exactly then, it’s a profound feeling.
How often we take for granted what we see, hear, touch, and smell. I believe we’re probably more aware of taste than the other things, because we plan for meals and prepare, or at least choose them. But how easy it is to ignore the way the light falls on the side of the desk, the sounds of birdsong, or traffic, or voices, and the smell of jasmine tea and laundry softener. This morning as I was getting gas I practiced some presentness. Rather than champing at the bit while waiting impatiently for the tank to fill (as is my wont), I paused. I felt the simultaneous touch of cold air and warm sunlight on my neck. I smelled gasoline, exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke and fresh grass as the gas gurgled into my tank and cars swished past. I felt the smooth metal sides and jagged teeth of the keys in my pocket as my eyes wandered to a crabapple tree at the roadside, plump pink buds bright against soft-needled pines. I noticed dust on the gas pump’s digital display as the black numbers spun past, smelled the sun on the crumbling asphalt at my feet. All these things took a fleeting forever, and then the pump snapped off and my tank was full. Time flows strangely when you’re in the now. Temporary and enduring become so easy to confuse.