My daughter and I had been fighting and to escape I decided to take our dog for a walk. Like many people, I often rehash conversations in my head when they are over; usually finding things that I did wrong or what I should have said instead. I know that it’s not healthy to do that, but sometimes it’s hard not to when the interaction is with someone as precious to you as your only (human) child.
Bella could feel my riotous emotions and was pulling on the leash a little more than she usually did. She’s a “Pit Bull” and incredibly attuned to my moods, so I was trying to push aside the conversation taking place in my head so that I could find some peace for myself and for Bella. She whimpered at me and then led me on our usual path around the neighbourhood. I hardly noticed because I was still not thinking about trying to not think about the imaginary argument that I was overly fixated on.
Then Bella stopped.
I halted as well and many seconds passed before I pulled myself out of my head and looked up to see why Bella had ceased moving. At first I saw nothing out of the ordinary. There were no people or cars or other animals near us. It was the small hill in the unpaved parking lot near our house that we had been to many times before. The same trees and bushes were only a few feet away as they had been dozens of times before.
And then something profound happened.
I took one single step to the right and looked up, past the parking lot and over the town houses in the near distance. All thoughts of my earlier argument disappeared from my head.
Every thought except one vanished.
I had never stood in that place before.
Despite having been living there for over a year; despite having taken Bella on walks through there many times a day for months; despite having lived in this town for over a dozen years and being in the area for longer than that. Despite all of that, I had never, ever, stood in that exact place before. I had never looked at the book cliffs from that precise angle. I had never seen the sun reflecting off of the windows of the nearby buildings in that precise way. I had never seen the trees towering over the neighbourhood exactly as they were. The interstate, the railroad tracks, the cars, the distant barking of dogs, the sounds of children playing, the feel of the breeze in my hair… It was all familiar yet was also completely new to me.
My thoughts were completely focused on this new event. I wasn’t recalling my argument with my daughter. I wasn’t thinking about what I would say to her in a few minutes when we returned home. I was only thinking about that beautiful moment and how it was completely new to me. I was truly living in the present moment.
A lot of us hear the expression “living in the moment” but find it to be a difficult task to do. From a very young age we are taught to plan ahead. To think about the consequences of our actions; to plan for college; to decide what we want to do when we grow up; to prepare for marriage; to save for our future children. The list goes on and on, and it is difficult to really live in the moment.
I’m not entirely certain that I’ll ever truly learn how to live every moment in that precise moment. Now I know, however, that taking a few minutes to focus on the moment that I am in can be an incredible experience that brings peace to my heart and quiets the yapping voices in my head.
And sometimes it’s as simple as taking a single step to the right.
Author Bio – Aimee Wilshire lives in western Colorado with her daughter, four dogs, two cats, and various other people that she loves. She is a student of life, a practitioner of spirituality, an observer of people, and an author. Visit her atwww.aswilshire.com