Being Fully Present

I've been practicing enjoying life.

The Serenity Prayer that I learned in CR (I'm trying to get in the habit of praying it every day, and meaning it!) goes like this:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that you will make all things right if I surrender to your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with you forever in the next.

I italicized the part that I'm taking as a personal challenge. Living one day at a time? Yeah, right! I'm always daydreaming about the future... or rehearsing memories from the past. The present is merely a vehicle to get me to the future, where I want to be.

Enjoying one moment at a time? What does that even mean?

Well, as I thought about it, I realized that I tend to live in my head. I daydream. I think about the future. I plan. I make lists. I parse sentences. (Okay, not really.) I schedule. I think about the past. I make up alternate endings for my memories. But I'm not present. I'm not enjoying these moments at all. I'm so caught up in worrying about/planning for/dreaming of the future, or so busy replaying scenes from my past that when I finally get to the future I'm so concerned about, I won't have any memories to replay because I've wasted all my moments focused on something else.

What a horrible fate.

So, I've been practicing being fully present in my moments. How?

Listening. I'm learning to savor sounds.

Have you ever really paid attention to the beautiful symmetry of "everyday" sounds? The gentle rhythm of a sleeping cat, or the whisper of fingers across rough wood... birds calling to and amongst themselves, or the clinking of ceramic and metal as you wash dishes.... the soft padding of feet across a hardwood floor, or the steady dripping and rippling of melting snow... it is all so beautiful.

I feel satisfied, as though I had enjoyed a good meal, when I acknowledge and consciously digest each sound I am hearing.

The clacking of my fingers on the keyboard is a gentle music. My screen is gently shifting in the late afternoon breeze, and it adds punctuation, textural interest. There are so many layers and subtly shifting rhythms that make up the sounds of ordinary life. It's a miniature orchestra.

Life sounds gorgeous. Have you ever noticed?

1 thoughts:

  • Jolene | March 6, 2011 at 9:13 PM

    ...And thank you for reminding me to listen today. Our walk suddenly became more enjoyable as we listened to the sounds of nature. You know... we really do live in a "musical." :)

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