I just went on a short trip to Washington D.C. with my dad.
It was wonderful.
The weather was beautiful, we walked all over, and it felt so special to me.
When we were walking back to our hotel after dinner on our last night there, I felt a bit sad that we were leaving. It just felt so nice to be there with him.
Then I reminded myself that every moment is special. It’s also special when I wake up before he leaves for work and I can see him or when we go for our afternoon walk when he gets home.
Each and every moment of our lives is special. Each present moment is special because it’s the only moment we’re ever truly alive, the only moment we ever truly live.
Our dreams for the future are just ideas, images, thoughts we have in our heads; our memories are just hazy, fuzzy images of something we once experienced in the present moment.
I know I will always look back on this trip feeling so much love and gratitude and appreciation in my heart—my whole being felt so full being there, experiencing each moment with him.
At the same time, the memories will never be as full, or as big, or as vibrant as the experience was in those moments that I was actually there.
This is the nature of life.
We can only ever truly live in the present moment.
I remind myself of this every day, in every single moment that I can.
I come back to the present moment over and over and over again.
On our trip to D.C., at each monument or place we visited, I made sure to pause and look at it with just my eyes, if only for a few breaths. I didn’t want to only see everything through the lens of my camera—spend my time only focused on getting photos that I can one day look at, remembering the experience I once had.
I wanted to be fully present too, taking it in in the moment, too. I wanted the moment, the experience, what was before me, to soak into me through my full presence, through being truly present.
I did take a lot of photos, but I also wanted to make sure I was soaking in the moment while I was there, looking at everything with my eyes in the present moment.
When my dad and I were walking, and I noticed my mind starting to think about how I felt hot or tired or how I wanted more water, I reminded myself that I was walking with him. I’m walking with papa. It was a reminder to come back to the moment. I’d see him out of the corner of my eye, feel his presence, or look at him.
Every single moment is precious.
It’s so easy for us to get lost in thoughts, to get lost in our mind, to think about the future or the past. Our mind wants to keep us busy and preoccupied.
So it’s important to remind ourselves to come back to the present, to this moment. It’s important to remind ourselves that life happens here, now, in the present.
If we stay in our minds, if we’re not present, we’ll miss out on our whole life.
I want to be present for my life, my whole life, each and every moment of my life.
Last year, I experienced some things that felt painful. One day, I noticed my thoughts trying to figure out when I’d feel better, looking weeks and months into the future—until the future moment when I could just feel better. As I observed my thoughts doing this, suddenly something in me stopped and said, “No, this is perfect.”
It was perfect because it was the present, because it was real and true and it was what I was experiencing.
I don’t want to spend my life wishing away weeks or months. I don’t want to spend my life wishing away minutes or hours or days. I want to be fully present for everything. I want to be present for my life while I’m living it.
The more I embrace this, the more I feel it, the more I experience it, the more I notice that I feel deep peace and rootedness, even in moments that also feel difficult.
I want to be present for all of my life.
I feel so deeply grateful for this trip, and I will always hold it in a special place in my heart, and I will look at the photos and be happy that I took them, and they will bring up wonderful feelings and remind me of how it felt to be there, and I will always feel so appreciative to have had this experience, to have had this time with my dad.
And I will also feel grateful and appreciative of other moments, simple moments, each day.
This morning I hugged my dad before he went to work, and I will enjoy our afternoon walk when he gets home.
Today, I will appreciate many things.
Every single moment is precious, and every single moment is special.