Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thoughtful Sunday; Living in the present lane

I have been thinking a lot about being present lately. It seems that we spend an awful lot of time thinking about moments that have already past; why did I do this or that, or the moments that are yet to come; what will I prepare for dinner tonight, all the while completely missing out on the only place where life happens, this very moment. This is not a new thought, it is something I dwelled into quite a bit in my years of intense yoga practice, and something that I think about often as I go about my daily doings, deep in thought as it were; somewhere else. I am deeply aware that when my mind wanders during any moment, I miss the magic and glory of what I am doing and life appears more grey, where as my full attention given to the present moment, makes all the colors pop and magic a possibility. 
We all do this, to a greater or lesser extent every day, and certainly there are aspects of our lives that need attention before they happen, yet what has me pondering this thought more of late, is the fact that we may to be passing this "habit" onto our children. It seems to me that we are so conditioned to bring up the future that we, without conscious thought, constantly apply this to our children.
Example; We have a trip planned to go visit good friends, these are friends that we do not see often and I know that the news will bring great excitement to the children. Lets say I share this with them today, and the trip is not for another two weeks, I can say with certainty that they will be asking when we are leaving almost, if not every day, and everyday they will then spend time in "waiting", thus missing out on the beauty that is happening right in front of them right now. If on the other hand I wait, containing myself, and only tell them just the day before we leave, will their excitement be any less? I doubt it and the waiting will only be a day, and still allow plenty of time for looking forward (in the eyes of a child) a timeframe that even my youngest can relate with. It seems to me, as I think about these things, that waiting to share exciting news until they are just about to happen, might allow our children to struggle less as adults when it comes to living their lives in the present moment.
Clearly we want to make our children happy, thus telling them things that we know will be exciting to them, yet what we are really doing, I believe, is conditioning them to thinking that everything exciting happens somewhere in the future, to always feel that there must be something to look forward to; the weekend, a birthday, people coming to visit, a trip or any other special event, instead of deeply realizing that there can be, indeed there is, excitement and beauty in every moment if we only take the time to live it when it is happening, which is always right now.
I have already caught myself a couple of times today wanting to share a thought of something happening tomorrow, and stopped. I feel certain that by keeping up this effort, I will help my children spend more time, as they naturally would without my input, in the here and now. And as they grow, living in the present lane, it will be quite natural for them to remain present and not something to be learned.

~I thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts, please feel free to share yours,
and a happy sunday to you all~


  1. what a lovely thought.
    I find it is actually my children that press for tommorow.
    mainly because one is Autistic and the other..... well we are not sure about him but he has "his ways". one of his obsesions is to know exactly what will happen, next, later, after one more sleep, 2 more sleeps... and so it goes on. I try very hard not to tell him anything past a day, as it just leads to obsessing over that thing, every day till it happens....
    i would love to find a way to help them both enjoy "NOW"

  2. I truly enjoyed reading your post today, thank you. This is something I have myself have thought of often. My daughter use to always ask what was happening a week in advance until one day I told her that everyday is full of unexpected surprises you never know what will happen in this day.
    This has seamed to help my daughter at the moment which I am thankful for.

  3. I gotta say I am not sure what to think about this idea. For me, part of the fun is the anticipation leading up to something. I guess I do see how not telling them will allow them to focus on what is happening right now. I think it also depends on the person, I know I need time to adjust to new situations even if it is something that will be good. Thank you for sharing this idea.

  4. Pip, I am sure your situation calls for its own unique ways. I suppose when our children press, we should honor their request. My thoughts were more directed at my own tendency to constantly bring up things of tomorrow:)
    Blessings on your journey~ Christina

    Foxglove Spires, thanks for sharing, how wonderful when we come across a simple solution that just resonates with our children.
    :) Christina

    I can certainly relate with your sentiment, I too enjoy the anticipation leading up to an event. Yet what I feel is, that when I share things far in advance with my children, it is more for my self, I want to share the excitement with them, and often it leads them, I find, into a holding pattern of spending a lot of their time looking forward rather than being in the moment. For them, I find, even a couple hours of anticipation can compare to a few weeks of anticipation for us. The passing of time must feel very different for an adult and a child, I feel.
    Thank you for your comment, I appreciate your thoughts on this:) Christina


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