Monday, October 13, 2014

Live for Today

"And don't worry 'bout tomorrow..."

October brings the crisp, clear, blue skies of autumn. The leaves turning red, orange, gold, and brown. Walking home from school with my boys, holding hands, chatting and singing songs, breathing in the sweet air and feeling the soft breeze on my cheek, I realize that in this moment, I am happy. I am content.

The time to be happy is now.

Happiness does not come from wishing for what we don't have, or what we anticipate for in the future. Happiness does not come from what has happened to us, or drifting thoughts about the past. Happiness is now, it is this moment, enjoy it, this is all there is.

Second to second, minute to minute, hour by hour, time ticks away, as I grow older it is moving faster and faster. My day is filled with things to do, moving forward seems to be what we do. Where are we going? What's next? But, what happened to here? Where are we now?

Being in the moment is not something that comes easily to me. I have to work at it. I worry, I fear, I feel anxious, uneasy and frustrated. My children live in the moment, they feel, experience and witness what it means to live with the good and bad. A perfect example is when my boys are outside playing, they laugh and run, fall and cry. I hear the screaming, sobbing, listen to the injustice of the moment or tend to the accidental fall or injury. A bandaid, a kiss, a hug, and they are smiling again.

When I don't live in the moment, I am not here. There have been times when my son asks, "Mom, Mom, Mom, are you there?" and I realize my mind has been somewhere else, wandering, and I didn't even hear him talking to me. Moments of my life slipping away.

I have to practice being here, in this moment. It is an active process in which the most important aspect is the awareness of the constant element of change. Everything is in a constant state of impermanence.

We can look to nature to see how things change through the cycle of the seasons, down to each plant and flower, insect and bird, there is a progression of birth, growth, decay, and death. The Earth, the mountains, the ocean is constantly moving, erupting, eroding, rising, melting, and transforming. Particles, atoms, molecules, and cells shift, morph, and dissipate. Energy, matter, space, and time are driven by forces of gravity, electromagnetism, and radioactivity in a perpetual state of fluctuation.

Every day our bodies, change and grow, breath by breath.

The very structure of our universe is impermanent.

In Living Your Yoga, Judith Lasater states, " It takes a brave heart to deeply accept that everything changes. Even when things are not the way we want them, we still fear change. Our attachment to things remaining the same creates suffering. When we cling to the illusion of impermanence, what we actually hope to secure is protection from the terrifying unknown that impermanence may represent."

When we begin to notice, to recognize, to take accountability for what we are feeling now, good and bad, without judgment, without fear, we embrace change. When we accept change, we accept life.

If you struggle with being in the moment, make a commitment to take back your now. Start with five minutes anywhere in your day, morning, noon or night, be flexible, the times can change day to day.
This simple exercise in mindfulness can be practiced anywhere, anytime. Notice what is happening to us and in us, moment to moment. Surrender to the unknown. Stay open to possibility.

Find a comfortable seat or lie down. Relax your physical body and feel your weight sink down into the earth. Soften the muscles around your eyes, forehead, and mouth. Take time to open and close your jaw and swallow to relax the muscles around your throat. Find a lift through your spine and upper body and a grounding in your pelvis and lower body. Begin to notice your breath, feel the fullness of your inhale and the release of your exhale. Slowly, begin to deepen your breath. Pull the breath in through both of your nostrils and into the back of your throat, fill your upper chest with breath, your rib cage will widen and expand. As you deepen your breath further, your abdomen inflates with breath, hold the breath in your body for one or two seconds and then release it. With control, your naval is drawn towards the spine, and the breath shifts up and out through the nostrils. Continue to breathe deeply in this rhythm, until you feel a sense of ease and well being. Soon, the inhale will become passive and the exhale will become active. This calming breath is a focused breath, it brings awareness of the present moment into your mind and connects you back into your body.

Right now, the windows in our house are open, the night air feels good. My boys are loud, laughing, playing in the living room. My husband is sitting in his chair, resting, sipping a beer, listening to old records that crackle from scratches, and skip from running, jumping boys. There are dishes in the sink, laundry that needs to be folded, crumbs on the floor, dust in the corners, boys to be cleaned, and put to bed. We will get there, at our own pace, in our own time.

Wherever you are, be there. 

Whoever you are with, be with them.

Love is giving. Love is receiving. Love is listening. Love is patience. Love is forgiving. Love is connection. Love is kindness. Love is compassion. Love is hope. Love is living.

When I think of all the worries
That people seem to find
And how they're in a hurry
To complicate their minds
By chasing after money
And dreams that can't come true
I'm glad that we are different
We've better things to do
May others plan their future
I'm busy loving you

Shapiro & Mogul