Is a wave going to sweep me off this rock? and Am I lying on an eel hole? were the only concerns I should have had, and yet, as I lay in a warm tidal pool, draped over mossy rocks, my mind was performing a gymnastic tour de force.
That day it was executing a particularly technical routine around my business—How many clients do I want, how many can I have? What’s right; HOW will it work? Tweak this page, oh no, forget it. Need to write to my community. Am I posting enough on Facebook? What else can I share? Does anyone even care? It is enough? Too much?
On and on the stream of thought raged through my mind, and, on an all too beautiful Sunday afternoon, on a practically private beach, floating in nature’s jacuzzi while my love fished off the rocks, I was missing it.
I caught myself and thought, How can I best be here now?
Instead of berating my busy mind and telling it to shut up—What’s wrong with you that you can’t enjoy this!?!—(which, by the way, never works very well), I asked a gentle question. What would happen if I replaced my thinking with noticing?
What if I got so aware of my physicality, I could feel a swirl of water over my baby toe?
What if I became so still I could witness the world springing to life around me?
Because it’s impossible to be running a mental marathon and also witness the world around you come alive. It’s one or the other—not both—and a marathon is a tiresome affair.
As I lay positioned between two rocks—my feet perched out of the water on a warm slab, my center submerged, my back and shoulders at the perfect incline so as not to drown—I began to breathe. I watched my stomach float to the surface with every inhale and drop into the constantly moving water on the exhale.
I felt a pinch on my back of some small animal squirming for freedom.
I sighed in pleasure as the waves flooded into the tidal pools, pouring water over my shoulders and legs.
There was nothing to do except observe, and nowhere to be other than present.
Had I continued running my mental treadmill, I would have missed the flight of two birds talking each other home to their perch, or the way a breeze fluttered a single leaf in such a fury I though it might be a hummingbird.
Had I chosen to stay inside my head and out of the moment I would have missed everything beautiful about it. I would have spent my morning wading in the past and galavanting toward the future with no real appreciation for the now.
And that, my friends, is how you miss your life.
Sometimes all it takes to bring yourself home to the moment is to ask, What can I notice right now? What can I feel?—then open the floodgates.
Wherever you are, make it your mission to be all there.
I’ve been all in The Courage Chart for the past month—all in—but the moments when I’ve taken a break I’ve consciously decided to be there because I know my mind, my body, my entire being craves the respite.
The fastest way I know to exhaust yourself is to allow your mind to masticate the future.
The present moment may be an exertion, it may be effort but, if you are all there, it is never draining—and that makes all the difference.
Love and Breathing It In,
P.S.– The Courage Chart drops to subscribers only on Tuesday—yes election day, you’ll get the opportunity to elect your future, on your terms, regardless of who’s president. BUT if you want a really special surprise, you’ll be on the Early Bird List. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this.