“Moments, like the days, pass forever away, and the dreams we dream to come may never come for this moment may be our last.” — Jonas Cain
In 2007 I began a practice of becoming abundantly aware of my surroundings. Throughout my days I set aside moments and notice everything my ears are hearing, everything my eyes are seeing, everything my nose is smelling, everything my tongue is tasting, everything my body is feeling, and even everything my mind is thinking and everything my heart is feeling. The idea is to become supremely alert and appreciative of everything around me. What amazes me about this practice was that I always become aware of things that were fully available to my senses, but I had been ignoring and missing because I was too wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life to even notice.
We all know how easy it is to get distracted—when our mind becomes so full of thoughts about the myriad of conflicting responsibilities that consume us. We’re in one place but we’re thinking about being somewhere else. We’re with our family but we’re texting our friends. We’re on vacation but we’re too distracted by social media to even notice. We get so distracted by thoughts of things that happened or might happen, that we miss the very things that are right in front of us. When this happens for too many days, or weeks, or months in a row, we kind of fall asleep, almost like we’re hypnotized by the repetitive cycles we find ourselves in.
It’s kind of like what happens when we’re driving a car: We get lost in thought and all of a sudden we’ve arrived at our destination but with no recollection of the various twists and turns that got us there. Sometimes we have entire days, and weeks, and months like this. I know people who have gone entire years where they’ve been stuck in the cycle of doing things and going places—going to work, going through the motions of getting things done—but they’re not consciously aware of what or why they’re doing these things.
The Magic Word Presence calls us to break free from the distractions that keep us from fully embracing and enjoying our precious moments, reminding us that we have a choice to live in the past, to live in the present, or to live for the future. After all:
“It’s okay to remember the past and it’s okay to dream of the future; but it’s not okay to let those dreams and remembrances rob us of the present moment, for that is all that we truly have.”
When we make the conscious effort to become fully present in all that we do we’ll find that we become more fully alive, allowing our true selves to shine.
Try this today: The next time you brush your teeth, don’t allow your mind to wander, instead put your full attention into it, like it’s the most important task of the day. Pretend that you’re in love with your teeth and giving them attention is the only way to express your love for them. Become grateful for each and ever tooth as it’s being brushed, cleaned, and taken care of. This can be a profound experience if you fully embrace it!
Jonas Cain is an educator, facilitator, and coach, working to engage, empower, and encourage leaders and the people they serve to experience joy.