Saturday, March 5, 2011

a lesson in getting present


It's Saturday night, The Man is working, I just finished watching the new Karate Kid starring Jackie Chan and Will Smith's kid, which by the way, I enjoyed very much, and now, I am writing. One of my goals in 2011 is to create 100 posts on my blog which requires the transition from dreaming to doing. Man, I have been sitting in that space a lot lately. Dreaming about a lot and not doing a hell of a lot. Hmmm...perhaps a bad case of the winter blahs? Procrastination monster attack? The basic fact that I am an animal and should be hibernating this time of year? Well, whatever it is, it is so hard to get motivated lately. Anybody feelin' me out there? Not only is it hard to get motivated but it is hard to F-O-C-U-S! So hard.

Today I wrapped up my basketball season with the 4th & 5th grade girls I coach at the Y on a volunteer basis.
Side note/Fast Fact: Some of you know that basketball was a huge part of my life for over 10 years. My motto in high school was Eat, sleep, drink basketball. The winter has been about basketball since 4th grade for me either playing or coaching.

Well today was our last game and before I headed out, I was at the house being all ADD, working on a project for a few minutes, then a phone call, then cleaning the kitchen, then writing out a card, then lying down in the bed...all in a matter of like 20 minutes.


After observing this little situation for about 10 minutes, The Man exclaimed, "Wow. You are having a really hard time being present. What's going on with you?"
Instead of jumping down his throat for such a blatant (and true) criticism, I literally sat down on the bed and said, "I know. I don't know what's going on. I feel so disjointed, like things aren't clicking. Like my brain and body are completely disconnected. I feel like I have a hangover but without the alcohol."

Getting present. I first started exploring what it means to get present when I first started exploring Buddhism and Eastern philosophies when I was 16 years old. I heard the fastest way to get present is just check in with your breath. Obviously, fast forward 10 years later and here I am still struggling. It's not that easy...or is it? Is it possible to overthink the idea of being present? I am starting to lean this way. Maybe it is just a quick check in with ourselves-where is my mind right now? Am I grounded? Is my breath deep or shallow? How am I doing, really?

When I was in college I took a Buddhism class and hated it. It wasn't what I thought it would be at all. I remember falling asleep twice and skipping a few classes to be with my boyfriend. It was so dry, so boring-I wanted more practices and less history, blah, blah, blah....well, what I failed to realize was at the time, I should have stepped up and said, "This class isn't what I expected. I would like to withdraw." Instead, I avoided the reality and skirted around, wasting my own time and not being real. Getting present is exactly like that-getting real with what is especially when things become difficult.
Bringing it back home: So, tonight, I got some simple stuff done-washing the dishes. As the Buddhist saying goes, "When you wash dishes, just wash the dishes." Enjoying restful time and a great flick. And writing. These are my self-care strategies today. They won;t work every time and some days I need different stuff but I listened and got present to what I felt I needed at the particular moment.

I challenge you to listen, really listen, to how you are doing, really. If the answer is, 'I'm fine,' ask again and keep asking until you really know what your body and your mind need at this particular moment to get present again.

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