Frustration. It’s what I felt when I noticed I’d spent the final minute of my meditation lost in thought. It’s what I felt when I was getting into my car after a hike and realized that I wasn’t as mindful as I wanted to be. It’s what I felt when I completed my gratitude journal only to realize that I just wrote some things down on a page without letting gratitude fill up my entire experience. It’s what I felt when I was coming out of savasana at the end of a yoga class when I noticed that I forgot to let myself just be there instead of always planning, striving, waiting for the next thing.
After a moment of frustration, I would resolve to try harder next time and just go about my life.
But here’s what I was forgetting: the meditation, the hike, the journaling, the yoga class… these aren’t just highlights. These practices are what prepare me to be more present during my life.
I was stuck in my thinking that I could only live a fulfilling and meaningful life if I did the grand things. I would feel present during meditation, feel grateful while writing in my gratitude journal, feel alive during a hike, and feel awake during a yoga class. I was forgetting that I have the option of being present, grateful, alive, and awake during all parts of my day.
I can be present with this pair of pants that I’m folding, and I can be grateful that I have legs to put them on. I can let myself smell and hear the celery that I’m chopping up to go with my lunch, and find gratitude for the resources to afford fresh vegetables to eat. I can take an extra 5 minutes to feel the shade of a giant tree in my neighborhood. I can really look at people, all the people, that I come into contact with throughout my day. I can listen to them, really listen to the words they are saying; without needing to formulate a response. I can let myself be right here, with whatever is happening. I can let myself live a meaningful and fulfilling life, even when it’s not grand. I can be present with the morning routine, and the errand running, and the unexpected traffic, and the midday dreariness. I can notice the color of the sky at dusk, and give myself some time to just breathe with the sky- and take it all in.