“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
– Ferris Bueller
Three weeks ago I returned home from a workshop in Arizona to the Pacific Northwest. Not only was the juxtaposition of Arizona’s dry, sun-scorched earth striking against the Pacific-Northwest’s verdant landscape, it seemed as if in a matter of a few days spring had exploded forth from the earth. The grass was taller, trees were blooming, and flowers were blossoming. The vibrant colors of spring were so arresting, it really pulled me out of my routine program and into the present moment, leaving me in a state of awe and wonder.
Have you ever come to the end of a season and thought, what happened to spring? You remembered when the daffodils, crocuses, and cherry blossoms bloomed—but then next thing you know the tulips have lost their petals, trees are bursting forth in lush, hues of green, and the weather is 80 degrees. Without even noticing the spring, summer arrived, and you find yourself thinking— spring just came and went. Time must be moving faster.
I hate to break the news to you, but when you reached the end of that season, time didn’t occur any differently. If you missed the season—that three-month marker of time tied to the rotation of the earth—you weren’t paying attention to it. That’s how powerful our automatic unconscious programs are, and at times, I’m just as guilty of it as the next person.
Stopping to smell the roses
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it,” the fictional character Ferris Bueller said. Things have only gotten more complicated since he spoke it in 1986. In today’s modern, high-paced, tech-filled world, we’re constantly zipping from one thing to the next—so that we can get to the next thing, that’s just around the corner from something else. But why do we (or what causes us to) miss out on this ever-present thing called life?
We miss out on life when we are oblivious to the present moment, and we miss the present moment when we’re running those programs—I have to take care of that, I have to remember to do this, don’t forget eggs at the grocery store, which I somehow have to squeeze in between my meetings…
As a way to combat the program, I create exercises or games to bring my attention into the present moment. It is, after all, what our meditation practice is all about; we’re training our brain and body to be in the present moment.
The present moment’s importance cannot be understated because it’s our doorway to a new future—it’s the place from where we send out and receive creation, as well as where we harness the focus and awareness to create and receive creation. Why? Because where we place our attention is where we place our energy.
When we’re truly living in the present moment, we can’t run the program, which is why I want to invite you to try these exercises. You can either chose from these or create your own. You can start small since we’re training our focus and attention, but as you begin to master the smaller exercises, create bigger ones for yourself. Here are a few to get you started:
- On your commute or during some routine of your day, take time every day to observe a tree move through the season—if not a tree, something that changes, grows, or evolves.
- Find a spot in or near nature and for 3-5 minutes, stop, close your eyes, and listen to the sounds of nature and your surroundings. Let your consciousness follow the sounds.
- Choose a signifier in your life where every time you see it, you’re reminded to open your heart.
- Download an app, such as Chill, that allows you to set up reminders throughout the day to bring your attention into the present moment.
- And finally, my personal favorite—look up into the night sky.
In this high-paced, sensory-overloaded, technological world, we would all benefit from investing more time in the present moment, that place where awe and wonder intersect with our human and spiritual experience. That’s the time life speaks to us.
Photo by luciajoy.com