Friday, November 19, 2010

Think About Being Present

"Choose your way of being." These were the words of my yoga teacher at class the other day.

Creative. Curious. Welcoming. Accepting. These are some of the ways I want to be.

Yoga has taught me that when we are present in a moment and aware of ourselves, we can choose how we want to be--do we want to be happy? Joyful? Playful? Peaceful?

A few hours after my yoga class, I finished reading the novel The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa. It's an interesting story of three people who, due to circumstances, necessarily live in the present--they live moments as they happen. The professor has a short-term memory that lasts only 80 minutes (and gradually less); the housekeeper and her son have to re-introduce themselves to him each time they see him. Even so, they carry on a friendship that lasts more than a decade.

Imagine how it would be if you could not talk about the past or the future with someone.

As I played with my dogs later that same night, I stopped my mind for a moment (from thinking about work and about all the stuff I had to and/or wanted to do). I thought about choosing to be present in the moment, and right then I chose to be playful with my dogs. It was wonderful; my energy was contagious, and my 8-year-old pooch started chasing her 5-year-old sister, like they often did when they were younger. I chased them as well, and it seemed very much as though all three of us were laughing and enjoying our time together. The three of us were present (I'm not actually sure dogs make the choice, but humor me here...). My mind and body were in the present and nowhere else for almost 15 minutes; it was an amazing feeling, not just to be there but to realize I was there as well.

When I thought about it, I realized there are certain times when I am naturally present--when I'm playing soccer, when I'm working a puzzle, when I'm reading, when I'm tutoring, when I'm writing....

Now what I need to work on is choosing how to be the other (perhaps) 75% of the time.

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