I walked into my room and paused, completely still. My bed is half unmade, half covered in pillows and Acme’s asleep in his usual spot, near the window, by the salt lamp set on the low setting. “I love my bedroom,” I whispered to myself. I love the simplicity, the ease it brings me every time I walk in and the instant I lay my head down I feel at rest. I thought, how rare it is that we stop to appreciate what we have. Truly, when we are taken aback just by our own contentedness and joy with the simplest of moments. Think, when was the last time you felt utter presence in an every day moment? This gift of presence allows you to solidify you in a place and time, to truly stamp your memory with every sensory sensation.
Later on in the week I walked into my living room and stopped instantly, a wave of gratitude came over me. A year and a half ago (and some change) I stood in this same place with nothing but a sleeper couch. I lived like that for a while. I imagined how it’d all come together, how I’d accumulate the items to make a home, only the ones that brought me joy and finding joy in the process itself. I feel tremendous love in having truly done that. It has all come together. When I graduated college, I experienced myriad of emotions in leaving behind a chapter of my life but there was so much more to it for me. It was where my best friend and I spent our days laughing and crying with each other and nurturing each other’s hearts. The desk in my bedroom I spent an entire summer refurbishing from an old antique with an ex love that I had let go of a year and a half prior. I slept in my bed with one of the greatest loves of my life, staring up at the ceiling thinking about how there’s no where on earth I’d rather be. Yet still, it flashed by before I could catch my breath.
I spent two hours in my empty bedroom sitting on the floor in silence, only it wasn’t silent, my tears filled the space between myself and the empty walls. The walls that had seen and heard everything from my heart, the spoken and unspoken. I desperately wanted to latch on, to the memories, the life I’d created and the person I’d become because I hadn’t appreciated them fully. They went too quick and there I sat wishing them all to come back into the present. Finding peace through the transition seemed at best, a dream. Instead it was constant push and pull between knowing when to go and wanting to stay, locked into a world that was no longer for me. And so, I find myself here, now staring into my current apartment living room, my bedroom, ever nook, cranny and crevice. How long will it be like this? How long will I live in appreciation of this exact time in my life? The uniqueness, yet fleetingness of this time leaves me wanting to cling to it like a sloth on a branch. Hoping each moment falls like a water droplet on a leaf.
And then, everything changes. Everything evolves over time, just as each spot in my apartment has. Carefully and intricately created through joy and intentionality over a period of time. Over a time where I enjoyed being present with the process of cultivating my space. And here now. I am appreciating all that’s here. All the joy I have chosen to fill me up. Maybe these waves come over me so strongly and puncture my heart because the heartbreak I felt before when leaving college. Or the pain I felt every other time my military family packed up our belongings to move. I remember hiding on top of a cubby in my closet when I was 7, before we moved to Belgium, it was my favorite hiding place, and I had to leave it. The first night we spent in our home in Virginia I laid on nothing but my mattress in a giant room with trees looking out every window. It was by far the largest bedroom I’d ever had, and even though I was older I felt I felt smaller than I ever had before.
See, its not really an attachment at all to the physical belongings, or even truly to the space, but to the moments I somehow missed along the way. The ones I wish I could go back and breathe in again because the air was so sweet and the moment utterly captivating.
And so, here I stand in my apartment. Graced by the moments shared here in this space, where becoming more of myself each day has been the most rewarding journey, where sharing the healing energy of this space with dear friends has been my greatest honor, I’ve shared tears, cried alone and clung to Acme in moments when I didn’t know how I’d make it through. There’s been laughter, joy, sadness, heartache, and there will continue to be so much more. And yet I stand here in this room, wanting to relish the exact moment of time – this period of life that will only slip away as tomorrow comes.
“A great hallmark of mental wellness is the ability to be in the present moment, fully and with no thoughts of being elsewhere.” Dr. Wayne Dyer
On Friday I walked along the corridor of the Ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island as I took a day for myself. I walked along the side and stopped. I looked out the window to one of my favorite scenes, the water lapping against a shore of pine trees and drift wood. Power, grace, and beauty. Ferry rides have become one of my favorite aspects of living in this city and all at once I felt the wave of gratitude come over me, “look at how far you’ve come, you’re here, doing as you said you would, riding a ferry and going on adventures,” and I smiled. In this moment of presence, I wondered what significant thoughts were coming into the minds of those around me, are they contemplating their task list, wondering how much time they have till their next appointment or what they’re going to have for dinner? Or is anyone else simply mesmerized by the view out the window? How simple it is to take for granted spending ten minutes staring out the window, thinking of nothing else but how that rocky sand may feel between your toes.
These moments of profound presence are not likened to that of climbing a mountain, watching a sunset, having a first kiss with that special someone, or the aliveness from traveling somewhere you’ve never been. There is much to be said for those moments because they force you to be present, as in there is no room for distraction. Your concentration demands you because your reality is thrilling.
No these moments are different those. Yes, you are living fully in these moments of pause, but mostly, they are deeply grounding to the core of yourself. To your current life. It grounds you into the realities, perspective and insight in one single moment. And frankly, you could be looking at your laundry hamper and having this moment. My point is, it doesn’t take “epic” experiences to live in the present moment. It takes pause. It takes appreciation. It takes intention and acknowledgment.
It takes wanting to appreciate yourself, the life you’ve created and allowing yourself to truly receive the all the gifts of presence. The pain, joy, sorrow, happiness included. It takes it all, to appreciate the moments.
Let me know, have you had moments like these? I’d love to read in the comments!
this had me in tears – I am so grateful for your writing Kari! You always manage to put into words things that have been muddled in my mind. Thank you!