Here and Now
“But what if I forget to be here and now?” worried Piglet.
“No need to fret,” said Pooh reassuringly. “It happens to everyone.
Once in a while your thoughts may carry you away to the ‘there and then,’
or to ‘where and when,’ but your heart is always Here and Now.”
~ from A Walk in the Wood by Dr. Joseph Parent and Nancy Parent
Mindfulness is about staying in the moment and using my senses to be aware of what’s around me. Mindfulness is not just focus. It is also the intention to engage with the world in a particular way. When my mind wanders off into the past or future, my intention of being present to myself and for others gently draws me back. The more open and kind I can be to myself in those moments, the more likely it is that I can extend openness and kindness to others.
Using my senses to maintain awareness grounds me. The more connected I am to the physical world, the less my mind wanders. Paying attention to the sensations of my body keeps me safe when I’m exercising. My walks outside are more enjoyable and memorable when I engage my senses to see, hear, and smell the world around me. When I am with another person, I can be a joy-multiplier or a quiet support if I notice the other person’s words, pauses, body language and how those effect me. My intention is to be open to what I and the other person need, and I can’t do that if my mind has already solved their problem for them or jumped to what I want to get out of the conversation.
Being mindful enriches my life. I remember the bald eagle that flew overhead on Christmas (yes, one did!) or building a fort with my grandchildren instead of getting to the end of the day and having nothing stand out. Living my intention to be my best self is easier when I am mindful. I create a life that’s memorable and meaningful to me, that keeps me in touch with the earth and why it needs my care, and allows me to develop the kinds of relationships with others that nurture and support all of us.