As most of you know I was a public-school teacher for eight years. During this time, I was constantly looking forward to the next break and so were my colleagues. I would often hear (sometimes out of my own mouth) from my colleagues, “I can’t wait ‘til Christmas break”. “Only 3 more weeks ‘til break!” My favorite was, “I just have ten more years to retirement”. After eight years of this, I finally started waking up and wondering why do I want to be a part of an occupation that is constantly looking forward to the next break? To me, if you truly love your job, you should jump out of bed every morning looking forward to that day. I knew this was what I wanted, and I no longer wanted to be a part of something where everyone (including me) was looking forward to the next vacation. When I walked out of Port Royal Elementary school in June of 2016, I vowed to never live life where I was always looking forward to the next break. Fast forward almost seven years, and I have done a pretty good job at not living for the next break and not wishing my life away. How are you with this? Do you find yourself always looking forward to the next weekend, season, or vacation?
As a yoga teacher, I am always reminding my students to live in the present moment. This past Wednesday, I read a passage from a book titled Journey to the Heart by Melodie Beattie. Melodie wrote, “Learn to enjoy summer, that wonderful warm time when everything is in full bloom. Summer isn’t forever, but don’t ruin it by fussing. Forget about the winter just past, the autumn that lies ahead. Immerse yourself in the good times, the fullness of summertime. …….Each moment of our lives is important. Each moment of our lives is a spiritual experience. To live fully in joy, we need to learn to enjoy the good times as well as weather the storms….” This passage is a great reminder to stay present. To enjoy the moment you are in. The idea of staying present is seen all throughout the Bible as well. My favorite reminder of being present comes from Psalm 118:24 “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” God made this day, and we are called to rejoice and be glad and we can’t do those things if we are thinking of tomorrow. Each day is a gift.
So, why is it important to stay present and what does staying present mean? According to an article on the website, Medium, “Life is a series of small moments that add up over time. The key to living a successful and fulfilled life is to make today a moment to remember. Living in the present is being mindful and aware of what is happening this second.” There are many benefits to living in the present, but I think the biggest benefit is stress reduction. Stress comes when we worry about future events or things that happened in the past. Letting go of these worries and giving them to God is the best way to live. God is with us every step of the way in the present moment and when we are present and in communication with God we are at peace. There are many activities you can do to practice being present like take a yoga class, journal daily, pray to God, read the Bible, conduct a mindful body scan, and go over your daily goals.
I am not perfect at living in the moment and fully enjoying the day. I know come August I will be wishing the hot, summer days away and dreaming of the cool, Fall mornings. But I am going to do my best to be grateful for even the hottest, stickiest of days. Today, is a gift that not everyone gets to experience. We have been called to find all the good in each day and to give thanks. We are called not to grumble but to see the beauty and rejoice in each day! I am challenging myself and you to the following two things:
- Jump out of bed each morning with excitement for what adventure awaits.
- Catch yourself before you complain/ grumble about the day and think of 1 thing that is good in your life.
- Do what you can to be present and live in each moment. Enjoying the people and sights around you.
Are you in?