Sometimes it seems we are always going somewhere. We are on the move, on the hunt, impatient to be somewhere else. Whether the anticipation is exciting or anxiety-producing, we spend much of our time on the way to something else.
I’m no different. I juggle multiple time zones and an epic to-do list in my head every weekday. Even if I’m not leaving my office I’m on the go from one task to the next meeting to tomorrow’s deadline.
What happens when it stops?
What happens when when we decide to stop rushing – or when life decides for us?
Two weeks ago, a friend of mine died. He had been ill for a long time, but his end came quietly and swiftly, catching him in his chair at home. He had places to go that evening, until suddenly he didn’t.
I’ve been thinking a lot about him and about our constant need to move and acquire and look ahead to the next thing. It’s a natural and not entirely unhealthy impulse, but I know I take it too far. I spend so much time and mental energy looking ahead to the next thing I have to do, that I rarely fully notice where I am.
When I put my phone down, it’s better.
When I walk instead of drive, it’s better.
When I make eye contact and small talk, it’s better.
I am often frustrated with myself that mindfulness is still such a challenge. That being with what is still eludes me as my impulse to judge and wish things were different takes over. All these years of meditating and still I’m miles away from the present moment.
But sometimes, while impatiently waiting for the 10,000 foot chime to ring on the airplane so that I can get my laptop out and get going on the next thing, I remember to stop and take a look at what is.
Picture taken by me with my aged iPad
as the sun rose over the Cascades.