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I started a post when I was escaping from the city to the beach this week.  It was about what the beach teaches me.

I’d gone to the beach because I desperately needed a day away from my regular routine so I could hear myself think.  Sometimes when the world gets noisy, I wonder I’m missing out on anything, if any bites of intuition have gone unheard because my life is so full.  The beach brings me back to myself.

As I sat on the bus on my way out east, there was more traffic than is normal this time of year because of construction in a long stretch of the road.  I was comforted by the patches of weeds outside my window whenever we stopped, the very ones that had dotted my childhood landscape.  Back then people told me they were weeds, but to me, they were beautiful, magical flowers.  As an adult, dandelions and “wishing flowers” still evoke sunshine and happiness.

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I arrived at the hotel, an hour and change after we were supposed to arrive.  I walked out and looked at the ocean.  It was cloudy and overcast, but I didn’t care. The sound of the waves lulled me into that place they always do.  That calmness, the sense of home—we drove nearly four hours and there it was.

I spent the next there, walking in the quiet of my thoughts that had finally calmed down.  It was chilly, but I was over prepared as usual, walking all bundled up with my jacket and scarf and gloves.  Even though it was cold, I walked barefoot so my feet could feel the spring of the sand which always feels so good against my leg muscles.

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I ate lunch and I read.  Every now and then I looked up at the waves just to acknowledge them, as if to let them know that I was still there.  I felt calm and content.

And then I felt an overwhelming need to go home, to sleep in my own bed and spend the morning lazily going about my Sunday routine.

So I did.

I came home to my city, stepping off the bus to warm spring air.  I walked in my front door.  I felt relieved.

I’m sitting in the park in my neighborhood admiring the tulips that have bloomed since I was last here. There’s an abundance of them, and they are beautiful.  I’m resisting the urge to photograph them.  What I realized when I was at the beach is that I so often try to hold on to special moments—especially with pictures—sometimes forgetting to actually be in the moment. I took pictures of the fog ahead of me on the beach, so beautiful and theatrical. Sometimes I was more concerned with getting the right angle so the picture could look its best.  Nevertheless, I felt the peace I’d been seeking.

Now I’m sitting here feeling the warmth of today, captivated by the cool breezes that move between the trees.  It is perfect. People keep coming in and out of the park, taking photos of the tulips in all their glory with their camera phones. I wonder if they can really see the beauty, if they can take in the lush fullness of their heads, so open and lusty, and their leaves, such a verdant reminder of spring. I wonder if they really see them, if they’ll remember them when the garden settles down into a normal state.

I’m resisting taking a photo, just so I can experience them fully, so I can say that I was part of this day, that I felt the glory of it.

Because life is full of moments and we are meant to be in them, to embody their goodness, to allow them to transport us where we need to go.  Even if where we need to go is right in our own backyard.  Sometimes we need to get away from where we are to know that home is where we needed to be all along.  Sometimes where we are is exactly right.

It’s all about being present.

xo, with goodness and grace.

 

I went to my first fashion show this week.  3.1 Phillip Lim.  It was awesome.

Apparently I was very, very excited.  Because all my pictures came out blurry.

Which reminds me of other times when I tried to chronicle something that made my heart sing with a visual diary…and it all went wrong.

Like this amazingly delicious bag of freshly popped popcorn…

…and that beautiful blizzard….

…and those pumpkin pancakes with pumpkin seed streusel and warm maple butter.  It’s pancake month.   And not only did I not remember to take the photo before we began eating them with abandon, I couldn’t figure out how to properly light the pancakes in the romantically lit restaurant.  At 6pm.  While I was celebrating someone else’s engagement.

We live in an age when everyone wants to share their special moments with the digital stratosphere, whether on Facebook, Twitter…or in a blog.  With all of the distractions that this connectivity brings, it’s easy to forget to be present.  It’s all well and good to photograph something cool in order to share with everyone we know, but not if we aren’t actually experiencing the moment.

All of the moments from the photographs above have given me a special memory that I hold dear, and the imperfection of the pictures just remind me that it’s okay to put the camera down every now and then, put my feet up and just be in the moment.

After all, the angels are still watching over us, whether or not the Christmas angel shows up blurry.

Savor the special moments, even the imperfect ones.

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