A Light in the Moment
Earlier in the week, I was walking on campus and I found myself in one of the many beautiful spots at Elon, the Meditation Garden. Before stepping into the walkway of the garden, my to-do-list spiraled in my mind and my feet were carrying my body in a walking motion so fast that I am surprised I did not trip on a brick.
I crossed over into the garden and my mind and body began to slow down. A deep breath of air inhaled and exhaled out of my body. I paused and asked myself why are you moving so fast and why are you going through all of these to-dos?
It will all be there (it sure isn’t going anywhere and the to-do-box will always be full). I decided to stay in the garden, no need to rush to the next destination.
Once I slowed down, I noticed a butterfly join me in the garden.
In an article by Elena Harris titled, “Butterfly Spirit Animal & Totem”, she describes how the butterfly is one of the most iconic animals symbolizing transformation. Elena describes the butterfly as a guide to opening our eyes to see the beauty of our life continuously unfolding. The butterfly tells us to see change through a lens of grace and lightness.
Simply, the butterfly reminds us to find joy in life and light in the art of being. A butterfly can do a great deal for the soul.
I share the butterfly story from early in the week; however, if I am honest the ability to remind myself to pause and be in the moment is difficult.
Why is it that in the middle of what is going on around us we are typically drifting somewhere else and thinking about the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing?
We say be in the moment to others but are we actually role modeling this behavior for others.
I often find myself telling my students and others to be in the moment. Maybe it is because I found myself starting to think of the to-dos that are always finding their way into my headspace.
I am not saying that we need to be lazy human beings. However, I do believe that we lose out on special moments when we constantly spend time thinking about everything else we need to be doing and we end up missing a moment to be there for someone or something. When we wrap ourselves up into the next thing, the experience we are in at the moment is lost.
When I first became a faculty member, I would be so overwhelmed with thinking about what’s next, the next meeting, the next class prep, the next conference presentation, the next, the next, the next, the next.
Over the last few years, I am much easier on myself and tend to give more energy to being present and letting the experience at hand unravel. I don’t always get it right and I’m still guilty thinking about all the to-dis from time to time.
There are many books out there about being in the moment, being mindful and simply being. We can all select our method (a book, a podcast, a meditation event – do what best gets your there).
Being in the moment starts with us as individuals.
Self-talk is the key to starting the day in a mind set to be in the moment. Yes, we can crave for friends, family or colleagues to motivate us and keep us going.
However, as an individual we have more power to set our mind in the direction to be present in each moment of our day (we may have to set a few reminders for ourselves; starting with positive morning self-talk we are more likely to stay on track most of the day).
By speaking this to ourselves in the morning, it is easier to catch ourselves throughout the day when we find ourselves spiraling about all that needs to be done. We talk to ourselves on a daily basis more than anyone else, so why not remind ourselves, “Stop, breath, and be.”
Our goal should not be to make it someone else’s responsibility to help us be present, let us get to taking on the responsibility of our own presence.
We can be a light in the moment by:
1.Starting with positive self-talk at the beginning of our day.
2. Paying attention to a spiraling mind in the midst of the busyness, stop and take a deep breath.
3.Taking responsibility for our own presence.
“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.”
- Maya Angelou