What does it mean to be fully present? How do you control and sustain your focus while balancing the need to plan the future, and or prepare yourself for being fully present in the next moment? Optimal life experiences occur for people when they are fully present in the moment; but present to what exactly?
When are you fully present to yourself and others?
Are there places, situations, circumstances in which this is easy for you? When is it most difficult to be fully present?
Mindfulness is referred to as being aware and fully present to yourself and those around you, on all levels: body, mind and spirit . However being mindful is not a statement of the mind, so much as a statement of being.
Today. I began trekking up a snowy covered mountain, exploring my new alpine touring setup, and noticed for the first time I was heading up the mountain on my own power rather than down. Momentarily I began to wonder why I would take on this challenge of putting on skies and walking up the mountainside, especially when there are chairlifts that have always carried me to the top previously. I
was distinctly overdressed for the occasion, bleeding profusely from a cut on my thumb that was wrapped in a paper towel. Sweat began providing a test to my ‘wick away’ clothing and yet I felt fully engaged in the present moment.
I could smell the pine trees in the air, feel a slight coolness on my cheeks and hands that were exposed. Little droplets of water touched my skin gently as the snowflakes melted on my body. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest: steady, strong, solid, reliable, rhythmic. My breathing accompanying the
pounding of my heart with far less confidence. The glistening of the snow covered the trees before me as I peered up into the sunlit mountainside. I thought of nothing else except trekking to the top as I climbed. A sense of freedom filled me. I can explore new mountainsides without crowds, lines and ski resort rules; I no longer need to look longingly at the boundary lines and wish I could go beyond to see what is over the line. I am over the line, on fresh powdery snow without limits, human tracks, footprints or snowplows. I blaze my own trail. Instinct connects me to all ancient (wo)mankind to climb to the top of the mountain; to conquer the challenge, to achieve a goal, to be on top, to appreciate the thrill of victory. I pause to take in all of God’s glory. The beauty of the natural world draws me to be fully present to myself and my surroundings fills me with awe, wonder and vitality. Then, before I know it I am being rewarded with the thrill of alpine downhill skiing. My body knows what to do as the wind rushes to my face, spreads my mouth into a huge smile. I glide easily, smoothly making turns that replicate a dance with the mountain all the way to the bottom. Sadness floats past me momentarily, as I grieve the loss of that connectedness to the natural world so full, rich and engaging. Like a well prepared meal, that took hours to create, it is devoured in a matter of moments; however the lasting effects nourish my body and soul and give life to the week ahead.
What fills you with presence? How do you fully engage in the present moment? What nourishes your soul and gives you vitality for the week ahead?