I was meditating the other day and something really struck me. I typically use the Headspace app for my meditation, so the facilitator usually gives an introduction to the meditation session. The topic for that day was focused around being present instead of focusing on the past or future. The way he described it is that being present is simply awareness in any given moment. I struggle sometimes with the concept of “being present.” I think it is something that we hear a lot in the meditation or wellness space, and sometimes it doesn’t quite resonate with me in the way that I want it to. But, when it was instead framed as “awareness,” it stuck with me. Being present is really just having awareness of the moment we are in, or paying attention in any given moment instead of running through our to-do list in our head or thinking about where we need to go next.
I often find it difficult to be in awareness during this time of the year with the holidays. There is always so much going on in any given day, that focusing on what I am doing in the moment seems monumentally harder than it generally is in any other month. Which is really frustrating because I love the holidays; this is the time of year that I want to be in awareness of special moments the most, so I don’t miss them! It is only the beginning of December, and I already feel the month slipping away and going by too quickly. There are so many things that I want to do and see and people that I want to spend time with, that there never feels like there is enough time to do it all. Especially when my body is really craving rest and quiet and moments to savor the beauty of the season. I really just want to sit on the couch and admire my gorgeous Christmas tree most days. Instead, I find myself trying to cram a million things into each day to get it all done. I feel the pull between rest and productivity so strongly, that it has been difficult to find any kind of balance. It’s really showing me that I need to take the time to slow down and listen to what my body and mind and spirit are really craving right now. Most days, I push away the craving for rest and push forward to get all of the things done, telling myself I will rest when my to-do list is empty (which clearly is never). So, maybe in this season, I won’t always find an entire day to do nothing (even though that sounds glorious), but instead, I can practice awareness in any given moment. To avoid multitasking, and instead to be in the moment when I am with people I love, when I am baking cookies or listening to music; to notice the beautiful moments of joy when I see pretty holiday lights or a gorgeous decorated tree. Practicing awareness in these small moments will bring me back to myself, to what brings me joy, to a space of appreciation for the beauty that is in my life and all around me.