I just returned from four glorious early fall days in sunny Montana where vegetable gardens brimmed with fruit, vibrant flowers flaunted their beauty, and my heart felt as wide as the big, blue sky. The purpose of my trip: stand-in nanny for my 19-month-old grandson.
We visited fairy gardens, harvested blooms and communed with pigs at a farm, threw rocks in the river, and feasted on Sungold tomatoes from his home garden. We practiced walking (he’s a late bloomer in this regard), tossed balls to the dogs, watched the hens peck at the dirt, cruised toy trucks around in more dirt, found a fat caterpillar, played with plastic dinosaurs, made drums out of food storage containers, and read lots of books. After reading Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco, he invented a game of “boom” and cracked himself up by scaring me over and over again.
I thought I was there to help but turns out I was actually there for school. School for me.
Yesterday on a podcast, I heard someone use the term, “distilled aliveness,” which, to me, is a super-concentrated way of squeezing the absolute most from life. Or maybe the purest form of aliveness. That’s what I learned from my grandson.
His days are packed full of joyful moments. He laughs easily and often, and when things go awry in his world, he voices his concern immediately. Just as swiftly, he lets the troubling feeling move through him and he’s ready for the next delight. He is a master of fine detail, examining even the tiniest items with great care. No sound escapes his notice–be it a bird, a plane, a truck, a dog bark, or even a sneeze. He is a big sniffer of flowers.
This child is perpetually in a state of distilled aliveness. And that’s because he lives in the present moment.
Present moment awareness is talked about so much in conscious culture it’s almost white noise. Yet, it’s one of the most effective tools we have to remind us we are powerful beings. It’s stunningly simple. And we almost always exist outside of it.
It can be difficult to summon the patience to allow the chattering mind to settle itself. Like most worthy endeavors, it takes practice. I think our cultural norm of duality–right/wrong, good/bad, pass/fail–creates a lot of tension around being in the present moment “correctly.” Spoiler alert: there is no way to do it wrong. Any amount of time spent in the present moment is something to celebrate. And if we keep trying, it might get easier.
Want to try it together?
First, let’s take a slow, deep breath in and a long, full breath out. Let’s feel the sensation of our breath as it enters and leaves our body. Now, let’s do that a few more times and notice that we likely feel calmer, refreshed, and here in our bodies. Let’s note that this practice takes just seconds out of our day. And let’s also note we have constant access to our breathing, and it costs nothing.
Here’s another idea. Just before I left for Montana, I guided a group of women in a walking meditation in the woods. We gifted ourselves a break from our phones and the other demands of our lives. We intentionally tuned into our senses of sight, hearing, smell and touch as we wandered in silence. We created space for nature and our inner selves to speak. From beginning to end, this practice took only 90 minutes. It could have been shorter except we spent some time sharing with each other about the insight we received and the peace we felt.
Maybe you don’t have time to wander in the woods today, but perhaps you do have a minute to imagine yourself as a 19-month-old. Your little self is probably not stressed. It’s unlikely you are worried about an event in the future that may never happen. Doubtful you are ruminating over something that happened in the past.
You are simply here. Right now. Savoring the fruit of this singular moment like a sweet, juicy tomato. Enjoying distilled aliveness.
Want to explore some tools for awakening your inner power? Contact me for intuitive guidance, healing and mentoring at RememberYourWings.com. Visit my booth at the Awake Festival, Sept. 15-17 in beautiful Evergreen, CO to receive services at more than 30% off!