I’ve been thinking a lot about change, impermanence, the past, memories, the future.
The present moment.
The gentle tug of longing.
How it can feel hard to let go. Even if we’re ready.
How change, even exciting, ready-for change, can be accompanied by sadness, a resistance to the letting go, to the parts of what we’re letting go of. Of what that letting go means.
To this, here, now.
To where we are and what we had.
To what is and what was.
And to what will no longer be.
To what will stay or remain or dissolve—as we go.
Everything that we’re living will one day be only memories. Distant, hazy, fuzzy, blurry memories.
A bundle of individual moments that are wrapped up into a general sense of how something felt—yet lacking the depth or fullness of what we experienced in the moment that we were experiencing them, as they were happening.
Every moment that passes falls into a distance that is already blurred by the passage of time.
The only moment we ever really live is the one we’re currently in. This moment, right here, right now.
And as it comes, so it goes.
I’ve found myself lately wanting to really soak in my walks, to feel them completely—feeling the sun on my face, the air on my skin, seeing the vibrant colors, listening to the sounds of the birds chirping and the long grass swaying in the wind. Me, walking, breathing, soaking in the present.
Trying to hold onto it, etch it, memorialize it, inside my mind.
A task, I know, that is fruitless.
I’m radically aware that everything will change. That one day I won’t be here. I won’t see or feel this.
That one day, I’ll look back on this and it will only be a memory; I’ll have a general sense of something I felt, a vague idea of what it felt like to move and breathe and be here.
I lived there…I’ll think to myself, from some other place. And feelings and memories will wash through me. A light sadness of longing will tug at me, will tinge a part of me, even if I’m completely happy in that future place, in that space.
I’ll be somewhere and I’ll smell a smell or hear a sound or see something that will remind me of this place, of this space, and I’ll be brought back here, or rather, here will be brought to me there in that future moment.
Yet even in my mind’s eye, I won’t see the vibrancy of the colors, or feel the way the sun feels on my skin. I won’t hear the birds or the river rushing over the rocks. I won’t see the cows or the fields or the rocks or the greens of nature with the same clarity that my eyes view them now. I won’t be able to breathe in the clear, fresh, pristine air.
It will only be a general idea.
A faded memory.
A general sense of what it felt like to experience it.
It’s why I want to live in the present, to live in as many present moments as I can.
To breathe them in. To feel them. To allow them to pour over and through me.
To bask in them.
I want to sink into them, linger, soak them in.
Bathe in them.
Marinate in their momentary essence.
Allow them to fill me and flow through me, thoroughly, completely.
I want to experience my life while I’m experiencing it, to live it while I’m living it.
To feel it and to breathe it in while it’s happening.
To feel the full vibrancy of the moment, of life, while it’s happening—in this moment.
The only time it’s ever really happening.
Right, here, now, in this present moment.
Over a decade ago, when I came across mindfulness, I read a book on mindful eating. I remember the author talking about how most people never even really taste their food. How they live their whole lives without ever tasting their food!
Because of distractions and talking and wandering thoughts, and TV, and reading, and whatever else we do…we’re never present. We’re so not present that we don’t even taste our food!
That was so terrifying to me! Almost nothing is scarier than that to me—to not even taste our food! Eating is one of the most intimate acts we will ever experience—to imagine never really tasting the food that we’re eating. The sweetness of an apple?
But this is how we live our lives, too. Lost in thoughts, distractions, and mindless activity. We don’t remember how we got places or what was said in conversations.
But everything will pass and dissolve and fall away. And all that will be left is a general, blurry, fuzzy, faded memory. A basic idea.
The vibrancy though, the aliveness, happens now. In this moment.
It’s the only time we’ll ever feel something fully.
And I want to be present for all of my moments.
If we’re not careful, we’ll live our entire lives without ever being present for them or in them.
It will be like they pass us by.
We won’t feel them or taste them or breathe them in.
We’ll just move and age and time will pass and we’ll wonder how it passed and we’ll have memories, but only partial memories because we weren’t fully present in the moments we were living anyway.
We can’t hold onto the past or our present, and we can’t take them with us.
We can only experience our moments in the moment that they’re happening, as they’re unfolding.
This is a lesson I remind myself of often.
I’ll do whatever I can to be conscious, to be present, to be aware.
To become aware.
I want to experience each of my moments as they’re happening—as they’re unfolding.
I want to soak them in.
Feel them, breathe into them.
Breathe them in.
I want to be fully present for my life while I’m living it.
Present for each and every single one of my living, breathing, beating moments.