It is raining as I write this. Early morning. A bright grey sky. Droplets fall across the earth, chattering against the pavement, while thunder rumbles softly in the distance. I take in a deep breath of fresh storm next to the open window and close my eyes, try to drop into the moment. Breathe. Notice my heartbeat. Imagine all the thoughts in my mind slowly slipping out of my head and out the window like heat, simply dissolving into the air. Listen to the drizzle of rainwater sliding down the gutters. Feel the heat of my eyes cooled by the blackness of my eyelids over them. Breathe.
It isn’t always easy to feel present in any given situation. To say the least, and to put it lightly, there is a lot going on. I think this much can be said for everyone. And with so much going on, so much to think about, to feel, and to do, it can feel impossible to be fully present moment to moment. It can feel unsafe, overwhelming, or understimulating. What does being present even mean or look like?
I don’t think there is one correct answer. I, for one, am constantly learning and transforming, so I uncover the treasure of presence within myself in different forms all the time. Lately, I have been spending a lot of time nurturing and observing the growth of my plants and flowers. I get mesmerized by new developments, baby leaves, little variations. They are small, almost unnoticeable changes day to day, but they are all part of the evolution of a lifetime. In paying attention to these small changes, I think I am becoming softer and more attuned to myself, in turn. And by softer, I mean more open, more tolerant of my own humanity and the humanity of others, and more able to hold space for imperfection without needing to judge it or make myself hurt because of it. Instead, I learn how to heal and forgive. And so by softer, I guess I mean stronger.
I think what I am learning is that presence is powerful. In these days of text exchanges that often go something like, “Hey, how are you/ Good, how are you/ Good,” where not much is really said, it feels delicious and empowering to be truly present with another person. To show up and be in the moment together. When we are present, we pay better attention, and perhaps, it even becomes more clear what it is we want to give our attention to. These days, the voices of the rain and thunder, of the leaves shooting crazily out of the stalk of my spider plant, seem to carry more wisdom and a more fulfilling energy than many of the other sources of information I find myself increasingly confronted with: Instagram, Google, Buzzfeed. Sometimes, after spending perhaps a bit too much time scrolling, I am left feeling overstimulated and under informed. Or else, over informed, and yet lacking a true sense of aliveness and engagement with life. So, as a daily ritual, I’ve been cultivating a sense of grounded presence within myself, through acts of nurturing, noticing, and by setting boundaries so that I can focus on the things that I want to truly show up for. Maybe, just to soften things, I even write myself a love letter, spend as long as I like on the exposition, describing the rain and the feeling of the storm washing over me. I begin to notice the sensations in my body. I feel more calm and more safe. I come home to myself.
Though the events of the past remain unchangeable, and the future is as intangible as ever, practicing presence, in whatever way is natural to you, kindly brings you back from all the noise and chaos of wild imagination, worries, and stresses, and drops you gently into the physical now, the only thing you have any control over. So, may you feel wildly free and unendingly supported by the universe to experience your body and your life to the fullest and deepest extent you wish. May you make this moment yours.
In love and softness,