Friday, 21 June 2013

The art of being present

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Sometimes I catch myself. Sometimes I don't.

I actively try to pay attention to it. But there are moments when I forget. Moments when I get lost in my thoughts or my email account, or my television show, or what I'm going to make for dinner, or my own exhaustion. But I try.

Terry and I both be present.

It's not always easy to do. But especially since having kids, I've realized how incredibly important it is.

You know when you're having a conversation with someone and their eyes glance up at you occasionally, but their thumb is actively scrolling through their emails on their phone? They're still talking to you. But they're not present with you. Their mind, eyes and thoughts are continually scanning for more. Their brain is working overtime to do two things at once. But from a distance it looks like they're with you, engaging in conversation with you. But really, they're not--not fully, at least.

Or when you're playing with your kids, but really your brain is thinking about the laundry piled up in the basement, the to-do list that's a mile long or how you just want to tear out your kitchen cupboards and start over. Sigh.

My kids know it. They feel it.

So I try to be aware of it.

I'm not always great at it, since honestly, it's not always easy with the fast paced, busy, technology-filled world that we live in. It's easy to keep your phone attached to your hip, waiting for the sound of the ever-present notice of a new email, Facebook message or text. It's easy to sit there with your child, stacking one block on top of the next to build the biggest tower ever, while quickly scrolling through Facebook to see what people are up to. If you glance up occasionally, smile and throw in a few words like "Wow, nice job Mya!" or "It's getting so tall!"...I'm covered, right? She'll think that I'm really there with her, engaging with her, present with her.

But she knows better.

She always knows better, because she catches me Every. Single. Time.

Her behaviour changes when she knows that I'm not really there with her. Her demeanour changes and she lets me know that I'm not giving her my full attention. There's no tricking a 2yr old.

So I find myself thinking frequently about being present throughout the entire day. Purposely trying to catch myself. Purposely trying to let go of everything that my mind is running after, and instead just sitting and soaking up every inch of the moments that I'm with my kids. There will always be time later to check emails, figure out what on earth I'm going to make for dinner that night or check off the to-do list priorities.

Carter and Mya want me to look at them. To focus on them, to breathe them in, to talk to their little souls, to make them feel like nothing else matters at that moment--because really, nothing else does really matter. They want me to turn my brain off and fall completely into their little imaginative world of play and make believe. They want me to be completely and utterly with them...present.

Kids can teach us so much about how to live life properly--simply. Imagine if we were able to be present with everyone who we encountered? Imagine if we were able to focus on the great things that were happening right now, this very minute--instead of worrying about what might happen tomorrow? Imagine if we were able to soak up every great moment throughout the day since our brains weren't running after a million other thoughts?

Throughout this whole mothering experience, I'm always feeling like I'm trying to teach my kids everything that I know. But to be honest, they are probably teaching me more each day about living life the way that it's meant to be lived than I'll ever be able to teach them.

To my two littlest loves...thank you.

Erica xo

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