Be Here Now
Last week I took a little camping trip with my family. For some reason it felt like a magical time of connecting with my daughters and husband, totally “away” from the Internet and the phone and the office. I admit I find it challenging, but I worked hard to stay off the Blackberry and simply be—enjoying the mountains, having a great time with my family.
I think I’ve struggled with living in the present moment my whole life. In the last few years I’ve noticed how virtually everyone is afflicted with this diminished ability to be here now in the current time and place. Often our attention is focused “over there” instead of “right here.” Tomorrow or yesterday instead of today.
Being Elsewhere Now has been elevated to an art form, thanks to ubiquitous electronic devices designed to take us OUT of the moment and transport us somewhere, anywhere else. We’re on our cell phones all the time—and that means we’re not “here” but elsewhere, with that other person to whom we’re talking. And iPods? No better way to transport ourselves than by plugging in our earbuds and checking out. Blackberries and iPhones ensure we can be connected with OTHER times and places anytime we want, and never be confined to the present moment. Our attachment to Twitter and Facebook feeds our addiction to documenting the small moments of our lives rather than just living them.
The whole idea of being here now has not only been lost, the very concept seems naïve in this sophisticated “anywhere but here” world. It takes discipline to reject the temptation to focus on other-times-other-places instead of on here and now. But there are incredible rewards. The beauty of the present moment is magnified when compared to the abstractness of things long ago or far away or still to come.
We can’t live in tomorrow, and we can’t live anywhere else but here. We can’t live “elsewhere” in our minds and still expect to experience life in its fullest. As writers, will we be able to fully capture the truth of life if we are not giving it our deepest attention?
I challenge you today to pay attention to your own patterns. To what degree are you living in the present place and time? Are you here now, or are you somewhere else? How is this affecting your enjoyment and fulfillment in each day? Just pay attention.
*Photo courtesy of my 10-year-old daughter.