There is so much demanding our attention these days, it’s easy to become hypnotized by all the rushing to get somewhere or do something that we forget why we are rushing at all.
The other day, I was running on the beach while my mind ran on a treadmill of its own– emails to return, writing to finish, phone calls to make.
It wasn’t long before I realized though I was on a beautiful beach, I wasn’t enjoying any of it. Instead, I felt rushed and pressured to complete the goals I’d set for myself.
I didn’t have to go away for a month at the beach to live this way.
Why do we rush? Do we rush so we can feel successful about achieving a goal? Do we do it so our loved ones will be happy and have what they want? Or do we rush so we can have now, what we think will bring us happiness in the future?
The answer to all of the above is yes, but is rushing through our lives really giving us what we want? And why do we want any of it?
So we can enjoy life; so we can be happy.
And yet, the very act of rushing does the one thing that will ensure we will never enjoy the fruits of our labor.
It closes our hearts to the people and things around us.
“What do you mean?” you may ask. “I’m getting these things done because I care about myself and the people I love!”
It’s true. Our intentions are noble, but the way we are “caring” is, in actuality, careless.
We rush our children to activities, but have little time to ask them anything beyond, “How was your day?” or remind them what not to forget. We rush to pick up groceries while texting on our cell phones, so we don’t even notice the person standing at the counter taking our change. We rush to get done our to do list, and miss the things that were meant to make life pleasant – the morning glories by the mailbox, the little child singing in the library, or the phone call from a friend.
We mistakenly think by accomplishing things, we will feast on satisfaction and the pleasure of completion only to discover ourselves worn out at the end of the day and still hungry.
Why? Because rushing closes our hearts. It puts us in a position where our time is more important than our presence. And being present is what feeds us.
Presence has the power to slow time down, cease the churning thoughts in our heads, and see what’s in front of us we may be missing.
When I realized I’d been running on the beach and missing every moment, I took some time to focus on my breathing and really notice Something in me was breathing through me.
This small act of sacredness was enough to help me pay attention. What is this moment wishing to bring me? I don’t want to miss what’s here for me, I thought.
And so began the letting go of my thoughts like tickertape, allowing me to become aware of the ocean’s foam playfully edging toward my feet in a game of “Here I Come”. I could actually hear its laughter.
And the amazing thing was my mind slowed down. A pleasantness replaced the overwhelm, and I felt a part of the sand, ocean, and sky. Nothing had changed except I consciously brought my presence to the situation in front of me.
We have trained ourselves to think ahead and be prepared, now we must train ourselves to let it all go and be present with where we are.
When we can do that, we will find the enjoyment and happiness we’d been searching for.
Just for today, I will catch when my mind is planning for future events and focus, instead, on my breath. I will remember that Life is living through me and be curious what this moment wants to show me. I will trust that as I stay in the presence of what’s before me, everything that needs to get done, will. And what’s left undone, was not meant to be done today.
I will allow myself the pleasure of absorbing what’s in front of me and partaking in life. In this way, I will feel alive and fed because my heart is open. Today, I will risk staying open to the moment to experience joy in my life.