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“Happiness is solely a matter of where you put your attention.” ~Anonymous.*
*I’m not sure who to attribute this quote to, if anyone knows please let me know.
Each glorious day arrives and ends. The One who witnesses, our capital ‘S’ Self, watches it all pass without commentary, or judgement. The small one, mind, ego, thought, chatters, makes trouble, takes issue with the way things are never quite right…
…If only I didn’t have a headache
had gotten more sleep
didn’t forget my computer for the meeting
wasn’t doing a performance today
wasn’t worried about politics
was spending the day with my kid
if only, instead, I wish…
When we become fully present to the moment there is no problem. There is not even opportunity, there just is. The fullness of what is. My teacher Jennifer McKeown calls it “the is-ness of what is.” Coming into presence we find that the small-self, with its needs, wants, demands, and resistances, collapses into infinity. Then we do it again, and again, and again, all day long coming back to presence the second we notice attention has left.
Walking down the stairs, thoughts come about the day, what will I do later if I don’t finish the…” Caught! Stop. Return, hand is on the grooved wooden banister, feet sink into the carpet, sun shines through the window, the body breathes. Presence. Over and over, all day long I practice.
My heart rate is up, a thin sheen of sweat builds at my temple, they’ll be home any minute… or maybe not, maybe I’ve got two more hours. I wanted to put the laundry away, play music, finish up loose ends for work, meditate again. I catch my body moving in jerky spasmodic motions, not sure where to turn next as the thoughts bombard my attention. I compulsively check my phone to see an update on their ETA. I’ve had 24 glorious hours of quiet, calm, unscheduled time.
I’m so grateful.
It’s not enough.
I need to get out of here! If I get out of here before the come home, I can finish up a couple more things before…
…before all of my attention is focused towards my child…
…before I’m at the mercy of whatever mood he’s in…
…before any rational planning and accomplishment of tasks is totally impossible.
I can’t believe how wrapped up in anxious thoughts I’ve become, I practically run out the front door to be sure I don’t accidentally see my son and husband before I’m ready to reengage with them. I realize I forgot my wallet a block away. I sneak back into my own home, terrified that I’ll hear the creak of the back door as I open the front.
Terrified that I’ll see my son’s chubby face and deep brown eyes light up at my presence,
that I’ll feel my hear melt,
my arms open,
my to-do-list fade into oblivion.
End of summer marks time passing,
watching beautiful child grow,
almost three now,
a blink and an incredible journey.
Each moment presents itself full of glory, fear, pain, love, pleasure, trepidation,
as though it is all that ever was,
gathering all focus and attention,
a storm’s lightning flashing.
And then it is gone.
The next moment upon us,
waves in the storm surge, unbearable in their intensity
or almost unnoticed in their mundanity.
And where are You? We, within this?
What are we?
We are not the waves.
Are we the shore eroding with each crash?
Are we the flower ripped from the bank?
The tree nourished by the moisture?
The water after it calms?
Where is our attention?
On the rock, the plant, the roots, the movement?
Or on every single one and ourselves too.
All as One.
The watcher and the experiencer,
never swept away and deeply touched,
dry to the bone and soaking wet
in every unfolding moment.