Monday, April 26, 2010

Practice Being Present-Over and Over Again

The other day I spent about 30 minutes recoiling a hose in a new direction. It was like wrestling an anaconda. It was worn in a specific direction, molded to the pattern of its coil. This task practically had me cursing...which I only do when I am really mad and provoked. The hose was stubborn and resistant. It required all of my strength, all of my focus and all of my weight (literally, standing on top of it) to get it to change course. I kept at it, knowing that as I redirected the flow, it would get easier and easier over time for the hose to follow its new pathway. I thought... "this is just like life!" Sometimes there are stubborn habits to change, and it takes action to shift the pattern and create a new functional way of literally "rolling" with life. And, with practice, the rerouting gets easier and easier. Whether shifting an attitude or a neurological pathway, no matter how challenging the internal or external change may seem, the willingness to practice presence makes all the difference.

Waking up to the moment, in a tangle of hose, I saw that I was being resistant and stubborn. Further, I was not present or connected. I wanted to get through my chores quickly so that I could get on with the other "more important", less mundane items on my to do list. I laughed at myself. I wondered...Why am I hurrying, making this a "chore", and getting angry at a hose because it will not cooperate with my agenda? And what is more important than being present to whatever is before me? Life as it is, appearing moment to moment is always the obvious and ideal opportunity to open to, rather than contract to life. It is what is most important. And, when I eliminate mental gyrations, past rumination and futurization, all that is real is now, and now, and now.

In an instant of humble self reflection, I took a deep breath and noticed I had been gripping internally with shallow breathing. I dropped the hose that I'd kept tugging, forcing and reshaping, and went to the base of the coil, directly to the kink that needed attention, and focused there. I stopped and looked up, breathed the floral scent in the air, marveled at the crisp blue sky, and became more attuned to my surroundings. I felt the current of life take me, instead of struggling against it. From that moment on, getting present allowed for a more seamless, enjoyable flow to my day...even while recoiling the hose.

Sometimes these shifts are easy, other times, not so much. Dealing with a relentless internal critic, a whining child (or adult, including myself), or an argument with my beloved can be more heart and gut wrenching. It is one thing to blast my frustration at a is another to be reckless with the heart of another. I watch myself snap, lash and bite...and I pray for presence, patience and forgiveness. Being in reactivity, resistance and control serves nothing.

I am in the process of rerouting pathways that jump to react without pausing to respond. While I still hit tangles and kinks, I stumble less and practice presence more. Coming home to what is essential becomes more natural...the breath of life, real connection, seeing and feeling what and whom is before me, honoring the miracle of existence is always accessible.

This morning I woke up with a stomach full of butterflies and excited anticipation for the ZaBoomBa premiere. I so much want to give my best. I could feel the potential of spinning out on worries and fears and mentally generated strategies. Yet staying present to the moment IS giving my best (and far more effective, actually, than any other options). As I allowed deep breath and a humble wash of tears, I recognized how far I have come in just "being with" and practicing presence. In the past I might have tried to "fix" that anxiety away, to inflate or push my way through this uncomfortable tangle of feelings inside, to resist and struggle, just like I did with that hose last week. Instead, I did as my dance/life mentor, Rosangela Silvestre encourages us to do, "be naked. Get out of the way and let the Universal Energy flow through you."

In staying present and shedding layers of all that I think I know, and want to control, all that I think I am or should be, I allow space for The Universe to shine through. This is a present moment experience and cannot be forced or calculated. Surrender. This is becoming the Universal Body and dancing the dance of Light! I humbly pray to practice being present, over and over again. How about you? How do you embody the Universal flow and call yourself to the present moment?


  1. Well said Gabriella. May we all find our way to inner ease by practicing the Presence.

  2. Yes! Thanks for your intention, Carolyn! Love and ease to you finding a new home. I have seen some rental signs at the end of Skyline and Swan. I know it is not far NE, but it IS beautiful. XO


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