Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Being Present and Enjoying Now

I have always loved the quote "nothing is worth more than this day" though I find it hard to live like that all the time. I think I do pretty well with enjoying moments and appreciating the little things, but it's so easy to think about the future and to-do lists.
The present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now. – source
I found this quote on a blog that I read, at 4am this morning when I was wide awake, because that is what happens when you have 11 hours of sleep the night before, pregnant or not! Emily from The Daily Garnish wrote a post titled "On Being Present" and it reminded me that I need to focus on this more. Check out the original source of the quote as well - it has a list of 15 things to give up to be happy. Great list.

It is so true. We have today. Who knows what else we have, and what tomorrow may bring. Not appreciating today while we are experiencing it is a loss. Today is a gift. Will we have bad days? Of course. Even on the worst of days though, there are so many wonderful things if we can just take the time to see them. I truly believe that we can choose happiness, and make the best of many situations. It does take effort to do this, and sometimes it just doesn't happen, which is ok too.

As a parent, sometimes it seems very easy to be present. I can gaze into their gorgeous, sweet faces and just listen to their adorable voices and share their excitement about a popsicle or a bird that they see outside. I often remark about Katie and how she has no thought about what she is doing next. When we get ice cream, she puts tiny amounts on her spoon, savoring each spoonful in no hurry to do anything else. This can take a while and she invariably ends up with melted ice cream, and that is savored just the same, with all the time in the world. I also notice this when I pick her up from preschool. It is so cute to watch the 3 year olds get up from their tables, pushing in their chairs and grabbing their belongings, looking at their friends and appreciating everything without a care in the world, and with no thought of rushing because they have anywhere to go.

These pictures are from a day a few weeks ago when I remember really living in the moment with the kids. We had a busy day with school followed by swimming lessons, but then went to the Fish Hatchery to feed the fish and enjoy the beautiful and unseasonably warm day. I remember posting to Facebook about how relaxing and incredible it is to just lie outside in the grass. I was very aware of how it felt, to completely relax and feel the ground and the soft grass under me, enjoying the nice warm breeze. While I was doing that, the kids were playing in the tree nearby, and I got to just watch them having a great time.

At other times, it's especially easy to not live in the present. Certain stages can be trying, and it's tempting to wish away the time, thinking about how things will be easier when ____. As the mom of a 5 year old and soon-to-be 4 year old who is 29 weeks pregnant and still struggling with morning sickness, it's so easy to think about how much better I'll feel in June, and wish for that time when (God willing) I know the baby is safe and healthy and here. But then I remember that in a few months Katie won't be 3 anymore and Ryan will no longer be a preschooler, and I try to savor the feeling of holding Ryan and Katie while my baby kicks inside of me, even if they have woken me at 6am by crawling into my bed. Can life really get better than that?