We are wired to look at and focus on what’s not working. I invite my coaching clients and others to a daily practice of acknowledging what is working in their life. There is so much in our day that we can appreciate that we often let pass through unnoticed in the fortress of our minds that contain unfulfilled desires, fears, doubts, and to-do’s.
We plan and plan for freedom that when it finally arrives it comes and goes and we say wait that was not enough. I blinked and it was gone. I’m practicing to bring every moment of my life into the present. To allow the opportunity for joy and peace to be infused in all that I do; from going to the store to cleaning my house, to my big summer trips because whereever you go, there you are. Rather than trying to make your reality bring you peace and happiness, bring yourself into the presence of now. What can you appreciate right now? Let time stand still in the NOW and see life unfold in the most magical ways.
When we were in Shasta I had the opportunity to experience the presence and beauty of time held by grace of God. On our last day of our summer trip we were in Shasta city picking out gifts of appreciation for our friends that cared for our home and pets. My 10-year-old son exuding the energy of the 49’s football team was bouncing around the store in a sort of hip hop style movement. I felt myself trying to contain this ball of energy that seemed to be gaining momentum by the second. I felt myself contract while maneuvering myself into a readied stance for a parental wrestling match when I realized quickly I’m no match for the 49’s team. All in what seemed to be one note and a beat I whisked him out the door while my husband stayed behind to purchase our gems of gratitude. This is where I spent the best 10 minutes of my day. As I exited out the door the expansiveness of the physical space diffused the time bomb, my son. There in the thick of the hot air time seemed to stop. I turned my gaze to the right where were my eyes met a most ordinary but glorious tree. We stared at its enormous trunk, our eyes breathing in its wisdom and strength. My son wrapped his arms around it and then gave it a slap, kick and a karate chop, and yet the tree responded only in the kindness of its presence, despite the jabs a human mind might interpret as disrespectful. The tree dutiful to its nature absorbed his buoyant energy with a level of grace I can only dream of.
Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a very small old white pick-up truck. I’m slightly obsessed with old pickup trucks-these days. It must be my fond memories of living on the farm. Although back then when I had to ride around in our pickup it was quite embarrassing to come clunking up to the school house in the old yellower beater, but now I feel comforted by it. It was a time in my life when days seemed like weeks and weeks seemed like months. I remember looking into the horizon from the dilapidated side of the barn feeling excited to have my whole life ahead of me. All my dreams and visions dancing like cart wheels across the grass. It’s incredible how at one glance at this old white pick-up could bring me right back to a surge of memories that would enliven all my senses as if that day was in present time. It made me realize then how a negative experience can have the same power in present time. When we focus on the past experiences it creates a trajectory into our future bringing us similar experiences, and so our thoughts create our emotional state and through that emotional state is how create and experience our lives.
What caught my eye next was the old black lab that sat in the driver’s seat looking most capable if he had keys to drive right off. We approached the truck cautiously, as we got closer to the truck we noticed the window was all the way down. At that moment, we knew that if he was going to have us for lunch he would have eaten us at the tree. I took a picture of his cool posture at the wheel, cause that what we do. Capturing memories is our attempt to capture something that is quiet intangible.
After a short paparazzi session, we then turned our attention to the blackberry bush that ran along side of a train track. The deep purple berries were bursting juice in the hot sun, tantalizing our senses with its sweetness, and so we carefully picked berries until our fingers and lips were stained purple. As the sweetness filled my mouth and my heart expanded as I watched the joy emulate from my son as he packed his hands with as many berries as he could hold to bring to his Dad. As I watched his delight I remembered our once a summer outing to the lake black berry picking with my mother. My mother had dedicated her hands to the hard labor of renovating the old farmhouse in upstate NY. To take a day away from the farm was very rare, but the memories of our trips to the lake still holds a lifetime of goodness.
I realized in that instant that memories are truly captured by the heart and remembered in the moment they need to be. I was the same age as my son is now. It was a time in my life when anything seemed possible and now I could feel the same exuberance that was contained in my son. In 10 minutes, we experienced a richness of life offering itself freely. You can contract in the presence of your current circumstances or expand in its offering. In that moment, I decided to expand and not contain the energy that is my son, but to set it free. In that choice, I was transported right back into magic and awe of my childhood where the simplicity of life was experienced in a length of a block and where true connection, happiness and joy exist.