Where Are You
In driving to work on a warm(ish) autumn day where the sun was bright and the leaves on the trees were having their last burst of color I started to notice that the local nurseries’ were in full Christmas holiday decoration. As I glanced at the storefronts along the highway this was a common view. Then driving into my neighborhood, I noticed that a few houses already had Christmas decorations on them.
We haven’t even hit Thanksgiving yet, but we were being catapulted into the Christmas holiday season. Thinking back to August, I had the same experience where the new school year didn’t even start yet and we were in the last days of summer, but yet the Halloween candy and decorations were abundant.
These are more overt examples, but they got me thinking about how we can lose where we are and are compelled to transition our thoughts and actions to some time in the future, taking us out of the present. And for some these grand signs of impending holidays (or other future events) conjure up feelings of being behind in planning, and falsely thinking that we need to get a jump start so when the “holidays” or the future event arrives we can just relax and enjoy them. When our planning and work are done we can be in the moment.
Outside of the commercial aspects of this, in today’s society we have built in these distractions and real-time references to some future point or milestone that pull us away from being grounded in our daily experience of simply being. We have instilled the concept and expectation around planning that fuel lower vibrations of fear, worry, comparison, etc., under the illusion that somehow when we get to that milestone we can enjoy it. We function in a state of tending to do too much and be too little.
There is a preoccupation of getting “stuff” done and a mindset that being still or idle is not productive. We have built a society in which people, especially in developed countries, are overactive, distracted and restless—thinking that they need to do more, have more or be more. And we get so preoccupied that we may even lose sight of gratitude.
Our physical selves—our brains—are sort of programmed to race from one thought to another, and our emotional selves get caught up in feeling guilty, inadequate or fearful when we are not in some physical state of perpetual motion fed by self imposed expectation. This is compounded when the institutions around us put distractions in front of us that make us have either a step in the past or the future—but not in the present. Be it (too) early holiday promotion and commercials, social media or legacy expectations, we forget to appreciate right where we are and who we are.
But we have the power to walk away from the distraction and to remind ourselves that we are in the present. We have the power to be in the now and stop ourselves from being transported into some future state (or to be dwelling in past states). We have the will to shut out the noise and be comfortable right where we are.
As the holiday season gets kicked-off with Thanksgiving in the US—with the “race” to New Years, realize that the now is all we have. The past is a story and the future will unfold as it should. Recognize the feeling of complete presence and focus on incorporating that feeling more into your every day life. Know where you are and just be.