A synonym for the word “present” is a “gift.’” Being present, as often as I can be, is also a gift. [Do you see what I did there – lol.] Seriously, it REALLY is one of life’s best gifts. When I can live for five minutes, an hour, or for a full event completely in the moment – it is exciting and healing.
The antonym for the word “present” is “absent.” I find myself absent when my concentration is somewhere else.
I have found more joy watching my children play sports, when I am fully in the moment. Paying attention to each and every play. Cheering them on fully. Not letting thoughts seep into my consciousness about the laundry at home. Or, a word that someone said to me that I may have taken too personally. Not ruminating on the past health issues or struggles. Or, projecting my fears about the future. Just enjoying every single glorious moment as it unfolds before me.
The same is true when I go outside on my daily walk. Sometimes I just . . . go. I don’t have a plan. I put on my boots and a hat. Grab my camera. And, walk. If I stumble upon a caterpillar, butterfly or bug that I have never seen. Or, a gorgeous mushroom. Maybe a flower in bloom. Or, just the sounds of the birds chirping. Then, I take it in completely.
I look at every angle of the flower. The gorgeous petals. The pollen exploding from the center. Sometimes, I will even be surprised to see a small bug crawling up the stem – that I didn’t notice at a cursory glance, but the more carefully I looked, it was there the whole time. (Not on this particular photo, but it does take me by pleasant surprise when it happens.)
Dragonflies, garden spiders and frogs have a tendency to blend so perfectly, that I might be looking at a leaf, and then they emerge right before my eyes – even though neither of us has moved.
I was looking at a log, near a pond by my house – and I almost missed the brightly colored leopard frog sitting there. Once I saw it, I couldn’t not see it. It was glorious. I quietly took a photo, and I still love looking at the incredible detail in its camouflage. The dark spots, bright green perfect skin. The way its eye blends with the line going down its back. The different spots on its underside. It was a peaceful, delightful moment – shared by me and a frog – that I will never forget. And, it gave me joyful calm and peace. If I had acted hastily, to remove the branch hanging over this frog — I surely would have spooked it. And, it, me – lol. It would have made a leap, and I would have missed a great opportunity to study all the detail of this incredible creature.
If I am tranquil enough, I might see a larger animal – a gorgeous fox, a quiet doe (or, trio of fawn), a curious opossum or a baby raccoon. I don’t think that any “find” is greater than another. They are all so amazing. And, as I am making each discovery, I am fully in the present. Intentionally focused on what I am seeing right in front of me. And, taking in every detail. This gives my mind a break from the cycling negative thoughts that can creep in when I am not being intentionally present.
This break (my daily walks) have become a priority for me. I have made it important in my life. It is healing for me, just like medicine and food are. I love living in the NOW. I love discovering all of the splendor right outside my door. And, taking in every detail. Nature is a blessing. And, therapeutic!
Being present IS a gift!