The Challenge to be Present

 

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Recently, I was accused of not living in the present. Constantly planning for the future, wishing for more, focusing on what could be instead of what is. As much as I wanted to disprove their accusation, there was no argument to be made.

I have always been a planner, a list maker, and a dreamer- and I feel my cause is just. If I never planned for the future, I would leave my fate to chance. I believe, if you are like me and have big dreams, then making goals and action plans are a must. Each month of the past year has had specific goals to be achieved by months end so that a new set could be written and eventually achieved. All baby steps, though at times it felt like crawling, towards the larger goal, the bigger picture.

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My dreams range in ginormity, cost and attainability. While a few have been met, some I am diligently working on and others are on the back burner. Though I do not believe any will escape my reach, because I plan on meeting and embracing each one- at some point, one day.

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While others, like my accuser, may see it as one of my many neuroses, I’ve learned it is a product of my upbringing. Years ago I may have chucked it up to being a “dreamer” at heart, but realistically speaking, that is not true. You don’t need a psychology degree to see that when someone’s parents die in their late 30s and early 50s, it will cause a person to see their own lifespan as a short one. Their example taught me to not put off in the future what I can do today. So I don’t like to leave things to chance, I know I don’t have all the time in the world to accomplish what I was put here for.

Now, I know perfectly well that the best laid plans may never make it to fruition. My mother thought she would spoil her grandchildren and my father thought he’d see forty. Neither of those happened. But that doesn’t mean we can’t put our best foot forward and set goals in hopes to see a dream realized.

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I know the accusation wasn’t meant to be hurtful. It was an observation after hearing me struggle over the here and now. They made the accurate assessment that it is hard for me to be present. I want to see and do and learn and experience so much before I die, that I forget to see what is in front of me. My daily struggles are minuscule in the grand scheme of things. And I know I’m not alone.

How many of you have looked back at pictures or seen our memories Face Book shared of family or friends that you used to live near or are no longer with you and think, “that was a great time”. Though we also recall how much we griped while living it.

Some how it is so much easier to whine and complain then be thankful and content. There will always be some pebble in our shoe aggravating us- such is life. However, my friends point is this…if we constantly struggle living in the present how can we truly be thankful for what we have and where we have come from?

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I plan to try and take my friends words to heart and be grateful for what I have now, rather than what I may have.

My first attempt to be present and grateful was at work. My workweek consisted of a terrible caseload of patients trying to break my back and evenings filled with presidential debates making me desire a visa to anywhere else. But… in an effort to help staff distress, our hospital started free yoga classes on Wednesdays. So we walked outside and enjoyed the crisp mountain air, autumn’s colorful pallet of leaves and focused on breathing, stretching and relaxing. I was thankful to leave work inside for 45 minutes to practice being more mindful.

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Like Rory Gilmore with her pro/con lists, I’m sticking with my goals, but I will add trying to be more mindful and present going forward. It will be a challenge, but my new fondness for yoga has taught me to find time to stop- inhale deeply… exhale deeply- and think of something happy, something I am thankful for. Then repeat and allow the tension to roll off my shoulders and drift away. Live in the here and now.

I encourage you all, as we enter the month known for it’s thankfulness, to be mindful and present and focused on what’s right in front of you.

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15 Comments Add yours

  1. Pat Owens says:

    well said! Love your photos too! You and your cousin Susan have great photography in common!

    1. Thanks Pat! I’m with her right now 🙂

  2. Inspiring as usual my dear😊❤️

  3. EDC Writing says:

    Your words stilled my present this early UK morning …

    1. Thank you for reading and your kind words! Hope it was a beautiful UK morning 🙂

  4. Sarah O'Brien says:

    I am also trying to be more mindful of the present. It is a struggle but the rewards are bountiful.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures. Makes me wish I was in the mountains, too… but wait…I’m in the present enjoying the dimming of a very productive days. 😊

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Sarah! Appreciate the support 🙂
      I love your mountain pictures with the pups! You are right, it is a daily struggle. A daily choice, to stop and smell the roses and see the bigger picture. Hoping to do better 🙂
      Best to you!!

  5. ladyfi says:

    Lovely shots! And well said – enjoying the present and being mindful surely leads to a richer life…

    1. I agree! Trying to find the balance is hard at times. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

  6. Jodi says:

    So touching and well said. I enjoyed reading and your photos too!

    1. Thank you so much, Jodi! It is a passion and catharsis for me.
      Thank you for commenting!

  7. Alice Lundy says:

    Beautiful. I love your monthly goal setting and getting mentality. It’s a balancing act. In my grief, I’ve immersed myself in the present moment, You’ve reminded me to take another look at my big picture goals. break them down, and act upon them while maintaining presence. Thank you!

    1. Thank you ,Alice! It is a delicate balance. I know if I don’t set those goals each month, time will fly by, dealing with the day to day struggles and easily forget the bigger picture 🙂
      Thank for reading! Best to you!

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