We have a baby swing hanging from the tree behind our house that doesn’t get used nearly enough. I decided to take a break from my computer and take Cannon outside to swing. Best. Decision. All. Week.
This baby laughed, giggled, talked and threw his head back inhaling deeply as if he knew what the fresh air would do for him. He stared at the tree above him then would giggle and make sure that I was smiling, too.
I got my phone out because I knew that his dad, grandparents, and everyone in our photo sharing group would love to see it. When I got my phone out he smiled and even giggled if I were talking to him or coaxing him but all of that extra stuff was gone. No deep inhales, no taking in the tree as if he was drawing energy from it and no belly laughs. I got a quick video, put my phone away and then went back to giving him my full attention and he followed suit.
For hours afterwards I couldn’t shake that nagging feeling. I realized that Cannon and I both went from being fully present and in the moment to me tearing us both out of it. Even the most enjoyable moments are made less enjoyable when you stop living fully in them. I had the best of intentions with wanting to share his joy with everyone else but I couldn’t help but to acknowledge what the reality of the situation was.
The epidemic of anxiety that is plaguing many of us, our society and our health has a lot to do with lack of “being in the moment”. Author Eckhart Tolle simply puts it like this, “unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry - all forms of fear - are caused by too much future, and not enough presence.”
This moment with my son got me thinking of other areas of life that I do this. The days that I “don’t have time” to rest or play; the times that I “don’t have enough energy to workout”; the weeks that are spent “waiting for next week to start over.” These things are usually a result of me spending my time, energy and brain power in the future. I sometimes say ‘yes’ when I’d rather say ‘no’, out of fear of not being asked again, disappointing someone, or missing out. Mind you, these are all things that hadn’t happened yet, just things that could potentially happen in the future. What a vicious cycle.
This is not a plea for you to stop using your phone, or to not capture precious moments with your children; this is a reminder that sometimes it is better to stay in the moment (you’ll be able to take that with you forever as well), and most importantly try to keep yourself in the present moment.
Stay focused on the things that you have control of and call yourself out when you are focused on the things that you cannot control (the future). When you don’t know where your time or energy is going, ask yourself if you are being present. I promise you’ll have less unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry, and more time for things like rest, play, fun and perhaps fitness.
Sweat & Smiles,