Being Present

One of the goals I made this year, was to practice paying attention to what I think about and how I think. And that includes practicing staying in the  present moment. I took this on because I spent so much time hurrying through what I was doing to get to the next thing on my to do list, worrying about the future, or regretting something from the past.  I was literally missing my day to day life.

I share this because I’ve just moved house and the process of moving took me right out of being present. I seemed to constantly be projecting into the future: being concerned about what I would or wouldn’t be needing, and trying to imagine life in a new neighborhood and environment.

Yesterday I was swiftly and abruptly brought back to the present, because yesterday, I helped move my mother into a long term care facility.

When I first heard the term dementia being used in with reference to my mom, my first reaction was fear. What if she gets to the point that she doesn’t recognize me and my siblings? What if she loses the memories of her life? This is so unfair! What if.

And then yesterday I got it.

Watching my mother and being with her, I mean really being with her – not just moving stuff around and getting her organized, but truly being present as she ebbed and flowed with different emotions, concerns and questions, I so clearly saw that we only have right now. This moment. And I shifted from sadness, and thinking I was losing my mom to recognizing that this too, is perfect.

She is still my mom and she is still teaching me.

My letting go of the way it used to be, of the way I want her to be, gives both of us freedom. She has the freedom to show up exactly as she is and exactly as she isn’t and I am free to love her, regardless of the personality that accompanies her on any given day.

I’m learning that fear ~ of anything, does not exist in the here and now. It only exists in the future! It lives in every single what if we think or say. So by staying in this moment, keeping focused on right now, there is no fear.

I’ve heard it said that 2 things cannot co exist in the same space at the same time, so where there is love, there cannot be fear. And equally, where there is fear, love will be missing.

The best way to let someone know you love them is to be present with them. Not half listening to them while on Facebook or texting or watching TV. Turn around, make eye contact, and be with them.

When you freely give your love in this way, it has no choice but to circle back. That is one of the fundamental laws of the Universe.

So if I keep my attention on the present, on this moment, there’s no fear, worry or anxiety. There’s only love that goes out to the person or people I’m present to, and eventually it circles back to me.

So I’m practicing being present, showing up in this moment.  And what my mother is teaching me, is that when I’m present to others, I’m automatically present to myself and I’m no longer missing out on my life. I’m experiencing it moment by moment.

Now that is a lesson worth learning.



photo from