We were lucky that Easter Sunday this year was picturesque in terms of weather. For the first time since October we reached 70 degrees and had sun, something we could only fantasize about during the harshest winter in history.
I took advantage of the opportunity and spent part of the afternoon working outside before sitting in the sun on my deck, listening to the ballgame on the radio and watching the squirrels perform Cirque du Soleil moves on my half-empty feeder.
As I sat there, I remembered scraping the ice off my windshield on those subzero mornings, driving 20 mph to work on icy roads and shoveling feet of snow. At that time, all I could think about was a) where I could move and b) how much I would appreciate days like we were having that day—warm, sunny and safe—if the frozen ground ever thawed.
But then eyes closed, sprawled out in a chair like an albino lizard on a heat rock, I found my mind going right back into my routinely obsessive thoughts on work, money, food, writer’s block, exercise, what I “should” be doing that day and in life, etc.
That moment in the sun with no obligations had suddenly turned into the storm in my head that so often clouds up my mind. And in some ways I was more present in the middle of winter fantasizing about the warmer weather than I was present in that moment actually sitting in the warmer weather.
It was then I overheard the neighbor kids say, “Poke it and see if it’s dead.”
At first I thought they meant me, but since it came from the other side of the fence I assumed it was a small woodland creature. And while I’m sorry it took it’s probable demise to bring me back to the present moment, I’m kind of glad that it did.
Because I do this all the time.
Part of me gets excited for or works towards something, and then when it happens I’m already moving on, dismissing it as something to check off a list instead of enjoying that moment. I don’t feel accomplished or calm, but rather wonder, “Okay, what’s next?”
It’s easy to fall into that trap in today’s society of “more, more, more.” Sitting around reading or listening to the ballgame isn’t always as “admirable” as doing, doing, doing all the time. There’s that constant need to know just what is next.
But as one warm day in the sun reminded me, I don’t have to fall into that trap.
I can choose where to place my attention and my intention by saying “yes” to a moment and “no” to worrying about that next thing all the time. If my mind would get out of my way, maybe I could relax and remember this more.
After all, the temps are back in the 40s with rain this week—Mother Nature is a cruel, cruel shrew at times—which proves how fast moments can pass.
Just ask the critter cadaver next door.
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you are so right! finding the present moment and actually living in it takes work and practice. I am all too familiar with the “checking off the list” mentality and have to actively work not to let it consume me. great post!
Nice! (Besides the dead animal part.) It’s good to take a moment on perfect days.
“At first I thought they meant me” Bwa-ha-ha! I’m glad you found a moment of zen before the cold comes back. And for when it does, if this may help you get through: http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/46593339.jpg
I have been “turning off” a lot more lately. I need that time to regroup and allow myself a time out.
Glad you had such a nice relaxing weekend doing what you love.
(and while we are not listening or watching the METS #allthetime yet, the NY RANGERS did make the hockey playoffs, so we are knee deep in Gio’s play by play during the games. #hatingontheFlyers 😉 )
That was lovely to read. “Poke it and see if it’s dead,” too cute. Thankfully they were not talking about you. My other favorite is the loud, clanging discussion about whether or not somebody is actually sleeping.
Umm, yup. Happens to me all the time. If I sit still too long it gives my mind time to think & that’s not good for anybody. I’m afraid I may never feel accomplished or calm. But I’m working on it.
I hear you! It is not always easy to just enjoy the present moment without judgment or burdening it with “shoulds.” And in fact, I think living in a place with a brutal winter, puts a larger burden of thinking, “Quick! Enjoy this with your whole being as fast as you can!” When you know that the days of perfect weather are fleeting, it feels like a lot of pressure to make sure you go out and enjoy them with all of your might.
Exactly! Even if I wanted to stay inside I felt pressure to go sit in the sun. However, I didn’t mind caving to that particular whim…especially seeing as it’s 30 degrees colder today 😉
I constantly fall into the “Okay, what’s next?” trap and am trying really hard this year to be more present as well!
I relate to all of this.
We have very entertaining squirrels. They have no fear of humans or Buddy the golden retriever despite the fact he wants to chase after them. Sometimes I think about shooting video of the squirrels because I know you’d have something to watch on you tube between Tigers games.
say hi to mom
My life, every day now, is ALL about these kinds of moments. I no longer feel bad if I sit and read, or sit and knit, or just lay in the sun with a magazine and a drink and enjoy the HECK out of any of the (brief but gorgeous) summer days that we get.
The crazy I-can-do-it-all busy thing is WAY overrated.
Yes! Thank you for getting this, too. It’s not always possible, but it’s always possible to keep it in mind.
Totally thought the neighbor kids were going to poke you with a stick. So glad they didn’t and that you were able to get a little sun. Sounds heavenly!
Yeah. Now it’s 40 and rain. Sigh…
Too true. My favourite thing is just staring out the window but I don’t get to do it enough. As for sun, Commando got the loungers out so the sun has gone, possibly never to come back.
Love it. I’m working on slowing down and not feeling guilty about it. It’s hard.
I’m not sure what’s funnier…your description of yourself as an albino lizard or the thinking the kids wanted to poke you with a stick.
Last weekend, I sat in a sun patch outside not once, but two times, just soaking it all in. I had my lists, my iPad and my mimosa, but I just set them all aside and really took in the warmth and the sun. It was lovely. I could do that every weekend. Here’s to trying to make that happen.
*Cheers* Although it’s going to be rainy and cold this weekend, I will be with you in spirit.
Lovely, all we ever have is this moment, right.