I was floating in the pool when it happened. I took a breath. It’s not that I had stopped breathing, of course. Luckily for me, my body knew what to do and it was doing its job whether I was there or not. I wondered how many things like this I had missed. The faint smell of pool chemicals blended with the natural fragrance of the outdoors. The cool, though ever-so-gentle, breeze touched my skin and rustled through the palm trees. The water was warm at 90 degrees, yet my “being” intermittently felt its cool contrast to the hot sun. It was both a refreshing feeling and one that I welcomed, once I realized it was occurring. Yet where was I? I had been in the pool over 30 minutes and outside for at least an additional 30. Despite my time there, this was the first breath I felt, the one I first noticed, the first I truly experienced.
How much of our time do we spend thinking about other experiences, places, or people? How often do our minds travel to the future that we look forward to, fear, try to plan for or in some way wonder about. How often do we look behind us recalling things that have happened to us, whether long ago or simply hours before. Who has not had the experience of words someone spoke, or perhaps we wished we had said, lingering in our mind long after we would like them to stick so vividly. Alternately, when do we daydream about the way we wish our lives would be…if only this or that would occur? As a meditator I am well aware that these habits keep us from living fully present lives. As a human being, and one that can readily veer toward an analytical left brained world, I’ll admit that I still catch myself being somewhere else, occasionally. Ok, lots! During this particular moment, I am not even sure where I was, other than realizing that I was not fully there. Sure I was aware I was entering the pool and aware that I was floating in water, but my attention was somehow split. To make matters worse, my distraction must not have been too important for me not to even remember it. It was in that moment that I realized that it did not have to be this way. I could be fully present in all that is, in this moment, right now. In soaking up the experience around me, I could more fully enjoy it. I believe, that it is in these moments that the full repertoire of possibilities open up in our lives, revealing options for living with greater fullness, and with greater intent in our choices.
So now, as I sit outside writing this post, I glance up to see a couple ride by on their bicycles. I take an extra moment to observe their pink silhouettes peddling so gracefully that the image seems like a rhythmic symphony. It is then, as I retract my gaze back toward my pen and paper, that I catch the glimpse of a circular formation across the water. The ripple spreads until it disperses, followed by a cascade of other, small and large, overlapping raindrops and ripples. Each one was quickly followed by an ever-so changing symphony of droplets with variegated sounds dependent on the composition of the material they were bouncing off of.
I put my pen down and just watch and listen. After a while, I compromise my attention briefly to capture a small component of the experience on film. Knowing that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts I quickly return to experiencing rather than creating. As I stay with the experience, I learn that the rain, sun, and wind ebb and flow in a pattern uniquely reserved for nature. The size and shape of the droplets vary, as do their resonant frequency. The sun comes and goes intermittently, whether the rain pounds or trickles. This Kaleidoscopic dance is like some unrehearsed, yet powerfully native tango innately choreographed and played out by the sky. Then, as I discover a smile develop over my entire being, I take a breath, fully experiencing being right there.
I challenge you to enjoy it, with curiosity, this the being where you are, wherever you go.
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