Have you ever promised yourself you’ll be more present? And then gone on to be pulled away from the moment you’re in?
It happens to me all the time.
My childhood was pretty much an exercise in learning not to be present. I was taught to “pay indemnity” (to suffer for God) in order to absolve my ancestors of their many failings and sins and to protect my descendants from having to suffer to atone for my failings and sins. That certainly trains one to focus on the past and future, and to see the present only as an opportunity to endure anything and everything for God.
My childhood experiences also taught me to over-everything. My overachieving, over-sweetness, over-tolerance, and over-responsibility probably helped save my life and psyche. But all those overs are certainly one more way to pull me away from what is here and now.
My childhood in a cult with my mom, the instability of the “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” lifestyle of my dad, and the clash of cultures from being stuck between them certainly molded me into my hyper-vigilant and hyper-reactive self. All of this, perhaps needless to say, pulls one away from the present. And away from the present again.
So, when my yoga instructor instructed us in this thought, perhaps, again needless to say, a huge smile came to my face. “There’s no time like the present to be present,” she said. “There’s no time like now to be more present,” I thought.
There are so many distractions to pull me out of my moment. There are so many things to worry about and think about and obsess about. Or there are my feet on the ground – and during my yoga class, my body on my mat – to pull me back to now.
There’s no time like the present to get present again. And again. And again. There’s no time like this instant to breathe consciously and focus on my now. To see what’s actually in front of me, to calm my racing mind, to notice and appreciate.
I may have been, in many ways, taught and trained to stay as far out of the present as possible. I may have escaped my reality in order to feel safer, or more in control, or less sinful. But I don’t have to escape anymore. I am safe.
And I can be present. Because there’s no time like the present to be present.
PS – if you’re practicing yoga, and looking for a new mat, I’ve stumbled across this list of the best yoga mats. Perhaps it will help you ☺
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