About being “here”

in the water, beach

Today, I read some of Coming to Our Senses by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Though I picked up this book about 2 years ago, I only got  partway through the book at the time. The ideas within – about living in the moment, momentary awareness, meditation, and the practice of inhabiting our being – really resonated with me, and I wanted to learn more about them, but I was too busy to really do so.

Two years later, after juggling with trying to complete a graduate thesis, raise my pre-schooler, support my spouse, contribute to my department’s global expansion and recruitment, keep a clean house, volunteer in my community and maintain a healthy life-work balance (ha), I see that I am in need of SPACE – space to breathe, space to not worry, space to be quiet so that the balance that has been sorely missing can be found.

So many things have been in limbo, mostly because of the thesis-in-waiting, and there is a perpetual feeling of life-on-hold. But lately, I see that waiting for the future and planning on things hinging upon the outcome of other things are contributing to a general dissatisfaction in my own heart that has somewhat seeped into my work and home life.

Yesterday, I came to the realization that being “here” rather than off dreaming about “there”, and the practice and ability to focus on now/today, are things lacking in my life. I think this is hindering me from living out life more fully, and enjoying life completely. I am persuaded that though we plan and look forward to the future, the quality of our lives improve as we focus and relish what is in front of us today.

I picked up Coming to our Senses again, motivated by hearing Jon Kabat-Zinn on a podcast episode of Krista Tippett’s NPR program, On Being, earlier this week on a drive back from Vancouver.

I was actualy coming back from a memorial service of the very young son of a dear friend of mine, and both the death and the service hit home the point and desire to cherish and enjoy today the people and the things in our lives since there is absolutely no certainty of what lies in the future. The podcast conversation that I heard on the way home between Kabat-Zinn and Ms. Tippett, entitled “Opening to our lives,” compelled me to dig out that book I’d never finished.

So today, I have finished a couple of chapters and am profoundly hopeful that I, too, will find a way to come to my senses and in doing so, will bring a better self and effort to my home, my studies and to my work.