Be here now. Those are wise words. We can’t really enjoy our lives if we are always letting our thoughts wander, fretting about the past, worrying about the future, or allowing ourselves to be pulled in many different directions. It’s easier said than done though. How do we keep bringing ourselves back to this present moment, to what is right here before us?
As I was cleaning out my birdbaths this week and filling them with fresh water, several little birds were dancing around my head and the nearby flowers. They must have heard or smelled the water I was using to water the flowers, and, because it’s been a fairly dry week, they were probably in need of some water. Instantly I had this realization – there is nothing more important than what I am doing right now. There were a lot of things that needed to be done, but all of a sudden I knew that the task at hand was what I should be doing, and nothing else mattered in that moment. Time almost seemed to stand still as I finished cleaning the birdbath and filling it with clean water. My movements seemed so meaningful and enjoyable.
I didn’t think much about it again until today when I was weeding my garden. The garden was full of weeds – a combination of being gone a lot and having some hot, humid weather that didn’t allow for long periods of weeding. This morning was overcast with temps in the 70’s, and I had time, so decided to tackle the huge job. I had run a tiller through the garden a few days ago so what was left was a LOT of hand weeding. I could hardly see the carrots and beets because of the weeds growing up around them, and so I started there, gently and carefully so I wouldn’t disturb the little vegetable plants. I weeded for over an hour, and then, there it was again – that realization that nothing was more important than what I was doing at that moment.
I chose to have a garden, just as I had chosen to have birdbaths, and there is care and work that goes along with those choices (unless, of course, I choose to hire someone to do it for me). The task at hand or the pleasure of the moment is what is important. There will be other tasks and other pleasurable moments, but it’s the one I’m involved with right now that is the most important. Whether you are cooking a meal, waiting tables, nursing the sick, tending a baby, eating ice cream, talking with your mother, weeding your garden, working in your office, listening to a concert, playing the piano, or doing the laundry, what you are doing right now is what’s most worthy of your attention.
I love moments of sudden insight like I had this week. Those are moments of grace where a truth just becomes so real without any effort on my part. The trick is to take that realization and make it a conscious part of daily life. I think to bring the most meaning, purpose, and enjoyment to our lives, we have to learn to BE HERE NOW. There’s no anxiety or regret in the present moment – there’s only now. It doesn’t mean we don’t plan for the future, but even that planning becomes an enjoyable task done NOW. If it helps at all, just stop once in a while, become aware of what you are doing, and say to yourself “There’s nothing more important than what I’m doing right now”.