Every single day I have many many minutes of not actually being here and present for each experience. I am often off in my head thinking about something else, the next experience and the next. I am curious about this!
I was taking the bins out this morning and I noticed that I was rushing down the stairs. Why? I wondered in a spirit of genuine curiosity. Ah I see, I am rushing to get the task over with as quickly as possible. Wishing some moments away to get to the next ‘better’ moment! So down the rest of the steps slowly, feeling them under my feet, breathing in the beautiful fresh early morning air and becoming aware of the sweet sounds of the dawn chorus of birdsong. Much less stressful.
In the pool every morning I have a similar exercise. Instead of being there the whole time enjoying the swimming experience, I am lost in a conversation with myself about various things. Today it was work related issues mostly, things I don’t actually NEED to think about at that swimming moment.
As soon as I ‘come back’ to being in the present the whole experience of swimming opens right up, the gorgeous silky water on my skin, the wonderful feeling of muscles being used, my incoming and outgoing breath, the smells, the mesmerising way the lights and the water interact so beautifully. And then the thinking starts again and I have forgotten all about the amazing experience of swimming, then I remember, and it goes on like that. And that multiple back and forth is within just a 20 minute swim! Its so interesting this urge not to actually be present and to be off somewhere else in our heads.
Back to self compassion and patience again. I’m not getting vexed about my seeming inability to be consciously present all the time. I see that its just a habit of giving my attention to whatever thought presents itself. Its like the ocean temporarily forgets its an ocean and thinks it is one of its waves. I am thoroughly enjoying this magical process of becoming aware and I am hugely grateful for the opportunity too. There is so much beauty to experience in the smallest experiences and seemingly unimportant events, its like a whole secret world opens up when we are present for life.