I view being in the moment as a state of awareness. Of recognizing my surroundings and using all of my senses to see, touch, hear, smell and taste in that moment. A sense of grounding and solidness that develops. Of being a part of the earth and sky.
If I’m with someone, then it’s also about focusing wholly on that person and truly listening to what they are saying. Not pre-formulating my response to them as they are speaking. Absorbing not only their words, but also their body language, their emotion and physical being along with their words. If any thought comes to me in that moment, I try to make it, “How are they feeling right now?”
Currently, the world is in isolation, dealing with COVID-19. There is no better time to discover the art of truly being in the moment.
I am working on refinishing a set of stairs in our home. It is not an easy task, and at some points in the project I thought, why did I take this on? It’s hard, my back is aching and my shoulder is burning from the pressure of sanding and scraping. I am uncomfortable and in pain. I want to stop.
Then, I look up at the finished step above me, one that is already complete, with the stain and lacquer on, and I think, that is why I am doing this. Because that step looks beautiful, and I want to see all the steps look like this one. I know when they are done, I will be so happy with my work because I know I am doing it well. I am not cutting any corners. I will sand all the paint off and prepare the wood to receive this beautiful new stain. Knowing I have refinished this wood with my own hands.
That is why I am doing this. That is being in the moment.
Feeling the pain in my back, and knowing my work with be appreciated. That while my partner works hard downstairs, I am also working hard to make this beautiful feature in our home. I enjoy smelling the wood as I’m sanding all the paint off. Feeling the vibration in my shoulder and hands. Running my hands along the newly stripped wood, feeling for any variation I feel I want to buff over again. Feeling the smoothness of the grain beneath my fingertips, I know the work and time that I’m investing is worthwhile.
Those thoughts ground me, and allow me to continue with a sense of pleasure, instead of discomfort.
Being in the moment is about feeling each nuance. Sensing all the emotions and appreciating them for their simplicity. Truly feeling a slight breeze across your skin, seeing not just how blue the sky is but also the different variations of blue, white, and grey. How vivid the greens are in the leaves, and how soft the purple is within the satiny petals of an orchid. The sound of birds and squirrels as they play around you.
During this period where we are forced to be apart, the longing for togetherness is harsh at times. It prickles at my nose and tightens my throat, and I am acutely reminded of the important things in life during moments of discomfort.
The Reality of the Coronavirus
I spoke with a good friend today and she shared with me the story of her neighbour and friend who’s funeral procession she just witnessed that morning. It drove along their street so that they may witness and pay their respects to their friend. He was diagnosed and within one week, passed from kidney failure due to the coronavirus. His wife, now a widow, and their daughter both have the virus. The wife is recovering and the daughter is asymptomatic. As she was telling me their story, tears filled my eyes. It’s shocking how one healthy man of 49, just two doors down from her, could be taken within one week. She lives in Woodbridge, ON.
During the past month, this pandemic has circled endlessly through my head. On one hand, I feel removed from it because my partner and I are staying safe, maintaining the required social distance and taking every precaution. Yet, our neighbour next door tells us of her cousin dying. It’s right there. In this moment.
So what are the lessons here?
Have humans become so reckless that mother nature brought us yet another great pandemic so that we may take to heart what is important? In the news you read stories about India having the first clear skies in years so the Himalayas are visible; of blue skies in China, the worlds biggest carbon polluter, where smog is normally so thick citizens wear face masks as a way of life. World wide, burning of fossil fuels has dropped significantly and Cicero, the Center for International Climate Research in Oslo, reports that the positive air quality impact of the quarantine is being felt worldwide. Will these positive effects be remembered once this virus abates? Will industry standards improve? Will more companies embrace the concept of working from home? Will we drive less? Will we remember how precious time with family is while we couldn’t see them? How slowing down our frenetic way of life actually brings us peace?
By no means am I lessening the horrible impact this has had on the families of the people who have died. This has been a terrible tragedy, worldwide. Any positive effects pale in comparison to the heart wrenching pain of losing a loved one. I can’t even imagine.
With that being said, I do believe there could be some silver linings found within these tragedies. A renewed belief in all the things we once took for granted. A firmer foot hold into the solidity of each moment.
As my partner and I go for our nightly walk, we look at the windows of the homes with colourful pictures taped to the panes. The signs on the lawns. The people we pass at six or more feet who smile and wave to us. The message is clear. Being in the moment brings strength, resilience, hope, compassion, and love.
It’s about understanding that we are not alone. Rather we are one. ♥