Be present. Be here. Variations of this have come out in past blog entries, but I have been ever mindful of this goal recently. Watching my toddler son and infant daughter teaches me to live in the moment. Truthfully, some of those moments (i.e. numerous nighttime awakenings and temper tantrums) I’d rather zoom through. Even then, in the midst of those struggles, I close my eyes, and try to remember it is temporary; it is only a moment.
When I am present, I watch, I play, I enjoy, and I learn. I watch my 2-year old skip from one minute to the next full of wonder and awe. I watch him crying face down on the floor one minute, and belly laughing the next. While I know he is still learning to control these emotions, it reminds me that he is purely in each moment. He isn’t worrying about how much time he has before a nap. He isn’t holding a grudge against me for taking away his books so he will eat. He isn’t thinking about when he will have clean clothes or how much of a mess he has to clean in each room. As I crawl around on the floor with him and his baby sister, pretending to be puppies, I feel his joy, his contentment. It grounds me. It calms me. My moments with my babies, the crying ones, the laughing ones, the sleeping ones, the screaming ones, all teach me to be present and value what I have. Those moments don’t come back.
We have all felt or experienced sudden loss, some more than others. Whether it is a home, a job, a beloved family member or a treasured dog, those moments of loss can level us. Those moments can imprison us. But in processing that grief, in acknowledging that loss, I have learned about being present. I have learned about being grateful for each moment I am in because I don’t know how many more I will have, and some of the sweetest moments of my life have passed. I have learned to love all that is in front of me, right now, right here.
Being present means I delight in the details surrounding me right now, right here. Actively photographing the world around me has disciplined me even more than I thought possible. If I go out on a field adventure and I’m not present, I miss the hidden beauties around me. I miss the opportunities to see what is in front of me. I forget to consider different possibilities, different angles, different perspectives. I have gotten to the point now, when I get back home and upload my photos, where I can tell if I was shooting the pictures in the moment, or just using the camera. I’ve even gone back to the same place twice because I have been so disappointed in my work, in the details I missed. I read myself this quote often before I head out for a field adventure- “Normally, we do not so much look at things as overlook them.” — Alan Watts.
There will always be a time when we are worried about the future or thinking about the past, and forget to be in the moment. Yet those times that we do find ourselves “lost in the moment”, carefree and surprised at how much time has passed…those moments should be celebrated. I know I strive to be present as often as I can, even if it comes less frequently than I want. I can hear my son calling me now to play with him. My answer: I’m here. I’m present. I’m not going to miss this moment.