How Our ‘New Present’ Is Also One Of The Greatest Gifts

The New Present

One of the most difficult things of this pandemic is also it’s biggest gift. And that is that we are being forced to hang out in the present moment. It’s impossible to make plans. And the past already feels like a distant memory. Where does that leave us? Right here, right now. And what is our new present?

And for many of us, that is someplace we are not at all used to being. That’s the discomfort. The gift, is that now is really the only place we ever can be. And all our planning and rehashing is just a distraction from this elemental truth. SO now we get to reunite without ourselves. 

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‘Our New Present’

  • It seems like every day something changes. 
  • Talking with friends on Zoom, and each time we’re processing something we can no longer do that we used to take for granted.
  • First no school, no going to work. That changed our present. But then we started thinking a little farther ahead. Would there be any more of the school year? What about summer vacation? Can still hear my friend Liza’s voice saying NO CAMP?!

There are so many ways that our current reality can feel like a trap.

We’re being required to give up more and more. And it’s so easy to go into victim mode. Oh, poor me! Poor us! This is horrible! I can’t take it! 

Anytime you feel like circumstances are dictating your fate, it’s such a depleting place to be. It’s the lowest energy state there is. You’re basically just sitting there waiting for life to punch you in the face. I am not trying to bright-side anything here, but we need a reframe. We have to look for the opportunities that exist now if we’re going to have the mental wherewithal and faith to get through. And the biggest opportunity there is to quit trying to distract ourselves by living in the future or the past and just accept the present moment as it is. 

Acceptance may feel like giving up, but it’s more like giving way.

You get to stop bracing yourself against reality, or running around trying to distract yourself. You get to stop doing more and start doing less. I like to think of it as surrender. Just surrender the idea that your whole family is going to learn the ukulele. Or that everything is going to be back to normal soon. And think about what’s happening now. Keep reminding yourself to just take things day by day. What is presenting itself right this moment? Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk and superstar in the mindfulness world says that the best way to take good care of the future is to take good care of this moment. So make that your mission–just take good care of this moment. It will never be here again. 

It  may sound crazy, but there will be a day when we look back on this time and feel a weird, confusing nostalgia. Because one thing that struggle and grief and all the juicy stuff that happens is that it opens you wide open—to your feelings, to other people, to reality. So let’s spend a little time consciously practicing that openness so that we have a muscle memory of it that will help us do it even when we do find our way to a new reality. 

Daily Tiny Assignment:

Watch the clouds

This is one of the funnest ways I know to coax yourself into present awareness. You can do it with your kids, you can do it by yourself, you can do it anywhere you have a view of the sky. And that is to watch the clouds. 

First step is to set a timer for 5 minutes. Just five minutes. 

Clouds are nearly always present, yet they are always changing—just like your thoughts. Cloud-watching then can be a great way to develop some objectivity on the nature of your thoughts. 

Spend five minutes watching the sky—notice what the cloud shapes remind you of, see if you can detect movement or changes in appearance. 

Just as a massive bank of gray clouds will inevitably clear into blue sky, or a cloud shaped like a rabbit will transform into an ice cream cone, your current thought pattern will also rearrange into something new.

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