Some time ago I went away with two friends and my sister to stay in a caravan owned by one of the friends. The caravan is on a permanent site in a caravan park to the south of Sydney, at Kiama. When sitting in their front annex, one can see and hear the ocean as it crashes onto the shore. A small creek also meanders through the park and you catch glimpses of it as you wander around the park. You wake up to the voice of the ocean and local birds as they twitter beautifully from their front row seats. A kookaburra landed on a branch near us and began to laugh out loud (LOL in texting format) . It was a joy. What was equally a joy was to be in the presence of three very different and amazing women. I was blown away by each of them as they shared aspects of their life I had not heard before. In the middle of great personal strife, one maintained a calm and connected manner. She did not disappear off into her misery. She did not dominate the weekend by constantly talking about her struggles. Don’t misunderstand me. She addressed the struggles and shared them with us but was so centred that, as she spoke, she was owning her story and not pleading for sympathy or demanding attention or solution or handing over of her stress (which she had every right to do and none of those present would have had a problem with this). I say this because she held the present moment and stayed in it. She was buoyed by her surroundings. She was uplifted by the presence of her friends. She was determined to find the joy and fun and happiness in the here and now, rather than be weighted down by what was waiting for her at home and therefore blocked from the glories of the present moment.
Did she have moments when she disappeared down the rabbit hole and entered that awful place? I’m sure she did. I know she did as she shared that she had slept fitfully, waking to find her brain go round and round in circles. In general, however, she had great fun. And she was a delight to be around. I was drawn in by her centredness. It seemed she had a beautiful aura around her. Her presence was healing.
Sadly, this drew me back, to a time long in my past, where I feel I was the opposite to her. I was in pain and everyone knew it and felt it. I believe I was little fun to be around because I was unable to outreach and be present to others because back then, I couldn’t be in the moment. I could only live present to my stress and pain and every moment was lost to it. I’m sure, at times, my friends struggled in the burden of my presence. I know as I say this, none would regret the gift of acceptance and non-judgement they gave me back then and their loving acceptance and support healed me. But, I wish I could have been way back then, like my friend is now. But that is a pointless wish as it was where I was at in my journey all those years ago.
I guess being present to the moment has wider and broader benefits than we are aware of. It’s like when you throw a stone into still water and a ripple effect goes on and on as the stone keeps sinking to the depths. As I grow in this skill I am continually surprised by the journey. I am overwhelmed at times by joyful interludes which take me over. It feels like a beautiful smile, full of warmth, is growing in and through my entire body and bouncing around every nook and cranny. At those moments I cannot imagine or feel or connect to any stress or anything negative, which may exist in my life at that moment and I am totally tickled by this.
I am also aware of the space and capacity which grows in me for these moments. The more I tune into the now the less I am losing life and the more I am gaining accumulations of these moments, which are true life. Most of us miss what’s on offer because we have disappeared down the rabbit hole of our minds, so we live in our heads, in our monkey minds and do not actually experience real life. Sad, really sad. Imagine that I missed the beauty of that ocean outside our door that weekend because I was too busy thinking about things which had no place in that moment.