Being present to each moment every day can be challenging. Especially because life and the world around us seems so end result focused. The Goal, the Point, the Final Results can override our daily missions. It's hard sometimes to be here, when we feel our focus and attention needs to be over there.
There's the project at work with the distant completion date, the upcoming family holiday you're hosting at your home, attending college planning meetings with your sophomore, even preparing for the important spring youth sports season while you're still playing in the less serious fall league. Life makes us look ahead. And that's a good thing - for the most part. We need to keep our eyes on the horizon. Just not all the time.
I've still been trying to run regularly in preparation for my upcoming Turkey Trot - which I learned is actually a four mile run not the standard 5K I was mentally and physically preparing for - a fact I'm none too pleased about, but that discussion is best saved for another blog post. For now though, running is giving me a great reminder about how best to keep things present without losing my direction. Let me explain.
I came back a couple days ago from a run a little annoyed. My legs don't hurt anymore when I run and once my body and mind accepts that I'll be running for awhile, my breathing settles into a normal rhythm and my mind sort of crosses its arms and flops on the couch like a pouty child who didn't get her way. I was frustrated though because I don't know where to look when I run. If I look straight ahead I get bummed because the road just seems to go on forever and I notice every hill in the distance, but if I only look down I risk running into something and my brain starts to melt from boredom. I asked Geoff about it and he said to keep your eyes down, but angled just a little way out from your feet (like a yard and a half or so). So I did that and it really worked.
On my next run, I looked up from time to time to gauge where I was, but mostly I focused on those few steps right in front of me. The things I could control now. And it felt better. And then, instead of the much-anticipated endorphin rush I hear so much about but have yet to experience personally, I made a philosophical connection about 'being present' instead. We need the finish line - it motivates us, it gives us an end point, and it feels so good to cross it when we do. But if we only focus on that one thing, the road we need to travel may seem so long we could become discouraged and quit, we may trip over something - slowing our progress to the end, and we'd definitely miss out on some great views along the way.
Life constantly pushes us forward, but sometimes we need to put down the telescope for a little while, stop obsessively looking for land in the distance, and just listen to the waves and feel the air on our faces. The destination and the journey are both important. Whether we're making it through a work day in the office, a holiday season, a big project, or a school year - the end will always get here. We just need to bring our gratitude, love, and attention to each step we take along the way. The end will be that much sweeter if we do.
I'm wearing this:
This is one of those sweaters I thought looked too crazy - I could never pull it off. But, it turned out to be one of my favorites and I'm glad I kinda pushed myself to give it a try. Another life lesson, perhaps?
And this Meatless Monday we'll be having grilled cheese on sourdough bread. Because I want my kids to like me a lot.
gratitude: morning rain, my new black boots, crowded restaurants with small tables, my house
thanks and love.