Being Present

my fuzzy nuts
Credit: Chris / http://www.rudecactus.com/2010/09/

I hate what I’m working on lately. That’s probably been apparent from the moaning on Twitter and somewhat angsty blogposts. It’s nearly done… but it doesn’t feel that way. It feels endless.

What I’ve noticed, is how much of a struggle it is to be in the moment, working on whatever it is that I should be doing. My mind wonders – email, twitter, RSS feeds – but also to new, brilliant ideas, that I could work on… if only I didn’t have to work on whatever it is I’m doing right now. Maybe later. Then there will be time.

I get frustrated with myself, if I could just concentrate I could get this thing done in a day, two tops. But I hit the point beyond which I can’t concentrate… and it takes longer than I think it should.

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Credit: Christopher / http://www.thisischris.com/2006_06_01_archive.html

When I’m stressed, it’s obvious, because I do things that I don’t normally do. Like, read novels, or watch TV. Reading a novel, I get absorbed. The things I should be doing – what I wish I was doing but might get to next month, fades away. Watching the season opening for Brothers and Sisters – tears are streaming down my face, and, for once, I’m not wishing I was anywhere else.

182; I'm Here!!
Credit: flickr / Sara. Nel

Living in the future, thinking about what will be next rather than what is now, is exhausting. I don’t find it easy to be fully in the moment, at peace, even at the best of times, but lately it’s worse than usual.

When I was in China, on Thursday mornings we used to go into the national park and do Qi Gong. You do a series of movements and are meant to reach a meditative state. I never found it. I never felt anything other than cold. The closest I come to that kind of state is skiing – at 30kmph your mind better be where you physically are right now; ditto on a mogul field. Kickboxing is good for that too, as is spinning, you reach a certain level of exhaustion and you have to be present, to force yourself to keep going.

Perhaps the answer is to find other ways to be present – sports, or a novel, or a great TV show. And then, when I’m supposed to be working, acknowledge when my mind goes wondering, think, yes, I hate this, but I have to keep going because the future where I have time to do the stuff that inspires me? That doesn’t happen until this stuff is DONE.

2 thoughts on “Being Present

  1. OMG, I was talking about this w a yoga instructor the other day. (It’s not Qui Gong, but the principles of our convo still apply here.) After her class, I told her that I kept getting frustrated that I couldn’t keep my mind clear, the way you’re “supposed” to in yoga. We talked about a couple things, but the jist of the conversation:
    1) You’re not “supposed” to do anything other than acknowledge your present state. If you acknowledge that you are presently distracted, in that acknowledgement, you have become present. Your awareness of distraction is what actually centres you in the moment.
    2) Yoga doesn’t have to be/isn’t the way for everybody. If you find your centredness in ski, do ski. Do whatever you need to do to find your centredness and joy. Om shanti shanti and whatnot.
    I find my centredness in writing, which is weird considering how infrequently I get around to it. (Yes, yes, life lesson hidden in that!) Do I’d rather write than yoga it up, and that makes two of us who can’t seem to find peace in what’s “supposed” to bring it to you! 🙂

    1. Haha I think a lot of people can’t find that kind of peace how you’re “supposed” to. But it’s a question of – do you force yourself, or do you try and find peace elsewhere?

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