The Here and Now

It is 9:52pm on a Tuesday. I am in the middle of making lunches, pressing shirts, cleaning up that remains of the day, catching up with the higher priority podcasts from last week, getting the coffee maker ready to go in the morning, oh and I am considering details at work, the 439 blogs I have to write as well as my own personal projects that I haven’t even touched, website updates, end of year school nonsense, and next years 8th grade school trip paperwork that’s due Friday. And dear reader, I know you are doing exactly the same with your own to-do lists, thoughts, worries, and deadlines. We live in a society that reveres multi-tasking, I seriously haven’t come across even one job description that doesn’t contain that infamous “must have qualities”, “can perform many duties at once” ever. And we women are known for our ability to do so while being asked the ever-obnoxious question “how do you balance it all?” Sometimes I want to laugh bitterly at that, “I don’t. My laundry is piling up, the Chipotle employees know us now because I haven’t been to the grocery store in about a year, and I am a MONTH behind in blogs. A month I tell you!” The infuriating thing is, I am thinking about all the things I have to do while I am doing… well things! So, it is no wonder that we move throughout the day, task to task, thinking about the next five while on the first one, and as quickly as possible so it can all get done and over with.

So, don’t judge me too harshly when I admit I used to roll my eyes upon hearing those buzz words we hear so often now, like “intention” or “mindfulness”. I was just a girl trying to get it all done like the rest of us. But then something I heard last week made me stop dead in my tracks. I was reading a travel article on Japan (I often explore random corners of the internet while avoiding my to-do list) and the art of the tea ceremony was discussed. The article stated that not only is mindfulness, “moment to moment awareness” but that the Japanese tea ceremony specifically “celebrates the fact that this moment with this person in the place will never happen again.” Wow, just wow. If I have learned anything this year, it has certainly been that time is fleeting and precious. What I wouldn’t give to curl up next to my Mom and talk about the days trivialities one last time or go to one last elementary school Halloween parade that my 13-year-old has long since out grown and see him as a little guy again happily hording his candy stash. It is so easy to wish away the moments when work is knocking down your door, it’s May and your kids have like 89 middle of the day school activities that need your involvement and/or immediate attention, or you realize that the last time you had a real vacation Prince William and Kate Middleton didn’t have any children.

The girls and I were chatting on this very subject. We are all moms, working, getting it done, and just kind of move from one thing while figuring out the next three. Our job is literally to think on “what is next?” We have whole meetings about it! My dear, wise sister made a great point, “you can’t have two emotions at once. So, you can’t be fearful if your grateful, you can’t have anxiety if your happy in this very moment.” Uh, who invited Oprah to this meeting? It’s so true though, here I just thought I was forgetful when in fact I am just not paying attention to what is at hand. So, what of it though? How can this be avoided? For one, I plan to pick at least two things during the day to make an actual daily ritual and make a concerted effort to be fully present for. Tea time, dinner time at the table, all the best moments in the day. I also plan to do more of what I am a whiz at being fully present for. Like, writing or something creative. For myself, those things can melt the world away. So make a pact with us to throughout the day with mindfulness and intention. We would love to hear from you, how do you plan on being fully present?