Writing this feels like I’m channeling Sarah Jessica Parker’s character on Sex and the City as she gets an idea and continues on with – ‘I got to thinking’. At the yoga studio, Amy often reads from Judith Lasater’s A Year of Living Your Yoga. I liked the quotes so much, I actually got the book and am regularly impacted by its quote of the day. In Wednesday’s class she talked about the ‘wholeness of the moment’ and as we practiced on our mats, ‘I got to thinking’ – how can we embrace that wholeness of the moment feeling more often?
We all have the same amount of hours in a day. We all have the same amount of minutes in the day – but what we do with those minutes and hours make our stories different from one another. I don’t know about you, but on vacation, the moments seem fuller. In summer, the moments seem fuller. When traveling, the moments seem fuller. The ones on the trail, at the ocean, eating ice cream, in a sporting event, meditating, in the midst of a tough yoga pose – those seem to hold a far more powerful moment than the other everyday ones. Something in that reasoning seems hinky. Like you, I aim to create the life I imagine and find joy in those everyday moments. With that in mind, how can we make those everyday moments feel as full and as engaged in the present as the ones where we’re relaxing on the beach in The Maldives or in the midst of a gigglefest with life-long friends?
When you think about it, it really is interesting. Regardless of what fills our moments, the aim is to be more present in each one. If we embrace more mindful awareness, that potential for not only living in the present moment, but finding that wholeness of the moment increases. Whether it’s the awareness, the breath, the noticing, or the process – the idea of solely being – is huge. When we’re in those spaces that tend to allow for that – we’re there. That brilliant French Polynesian sunset, that first glimpse of a glacier, the awe of witnessing elephants playfully engaging with one another, the foothold of mid-climb on the wall or in the infectious belly-laughing sessions with friends – we find it there. For some reason or another, those moments feel full. What about all of the other ones in between?
I certainly don’t have all of the answers, but some of those answers are out there. It’s there in the poetry of greats like Emerson and the wisdom of trail seekers like John Muir. It’s in the meditative guidance of gurus like Jon Kabat Zinn and the influential philosophies of The Dalai Lama. It’s in the breeze carried by the ocean, the sweet spot of a surfer’s wave, the journey of Everest trekkers and the poise of a gymnast mid-flip. It’s the magic of the present, the focus in the awareness and the ease of letting go of all the rest but the here and now. That’s how we sharpen our focus; that’s how we bring the fullness of that cliff jumping moment into the nuances of folding laundry, answering emails, garnering new business and managing our busy lives.
Let go of the apocalyptic apoplectic agita-inducing anticipatory anxiety that is all encompassing and see where life leads. Often it’s the dread of worry about what might happen, the future-planning mindset or the grappling with what we’ve decided will happen that consumes and clutters the space where the ease begins and the fullness of the moment takes hold. Think about it. In the spaces without time frames, in the glow of nature’s light, in the heat of an intense conversation with a friend or in the midst of a bite of a mind-blowing morsel – you’re there, you’re truly in the moment – with all of it’s wholeness, all of it’s everything – you’re all there. That’s it.
Over a week ago, the husband and I ran an Australian bushfire relief yoga class fundraiser and a friend of mine from childhood came with her 6 year old daughter who does yoga in school. After introducing the little one as an aspiring yogi to a yoga teacher friend of mine, my friend reminded us all that we’re really all aspiring and continuing a practice. It’s often muttered, ‘it’s not yoga perfect, it’s yoga practice’ and it’s true. The same can be said for life.
As I write I’m sitting outside in the courtyard of my building. The sun burns hot on my face, footsteps of shared space dwellers pass by, and there’s a humming rhythm of cars flying by on the adjacent street. Bells of a wind chime clang, dogs play in the dog run, a bee floats past my peripheral vision and the wind ripples the water in the pool. It’s a work day, but shifting that perspective to my travel happy mindset helps. If we open our eyes to that noticing, that awareness, that growth that continues to come from practice – perhaps we’ll experience more moments when we’re all in, when the wholeness seems palpable, and the moment exudes presence. I’ll keep practicing if you will. Namaste.