Being Present

Are you old enough to remember back when teachers took roll call every morning (Is that a thing these days?) where the teacher called out your name and you’d reply by saying “Present” and they’d tick your name off for the day. Being present meant you were there for the day, to learn the lessons and do the work; to pay attention.

But how many of us were truly “present” the entire time? Did our minds wander out of the classroom and onto other things?

I was guilty of that on many occasions, and more so as I aged, for my imagination had much more to offer than the reality of that stuffy classroom. I had no idea that all the thoughts that were freely flowing through my mind had anything to do with imagination. Imagination was something saved for the blank page during creative writing class–if only I had known.

Being and staying in the present moment is not an easy feat. It’s something that takes practice, and gentle reminders each time our mind meanders off into another direction. I think the ability to be truly present is far easier for small kids. I have only to watch my grandchildren at play to recognize that.

What does that have to do with anything now? Lately, I’ve been trying to stay in the present moment as often as I can. For a writer, this is doubly challenging, as our minds are often far away during the run of a day, when anything and everything that touches our senses can send us down the path of imagination. Sometimes, we only become present when we actually sit down to write.

For the past 42 years I’ve lived on our property beside Black Duck Lake. The leaves are absolutely gorgeous these days. I thought the other day of how many years I didn’t take the time to enjoy the colours and the quiet of the lake during the fall. Fall was always my busy time, but one I always proclaimed to be my favourite. Yet, if I had time to make it to the lake shore, there was always some purpose, the least of which was to admire the fall colours and just spend time being in the present moment, not thinking of what next had to be done, and enjoying the beauty of the surroundings.

But I’m attempting to make changes in the way I’ve done things in the past and, hopefully, finding and enjoying those present moments during my day will be part of it.

Staying in the present moment is not as easy as it sounds and not something that is realistic to expect one hundred present of the time. My aim, at the moment, is to enjoy as many present moments as I can and leave behind the worry of the day–past, present, and future.

Life is to be enjoyed.

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