“If you’re angry, you’re living in the past. If you’re worrying, you’re living in the future. If you’re content, you’ll know you’re living in the present, and that’s when life all starts to make sense.”
With our current circumstances, it seems that summer 2020 has turned into the year of the staycation. There’s no faraway trips, no large gatherings, and no clarity yet on what the future holds. We’ve heard from many of you about how nebulous the uncertainty feels…and how the pandemic has illuminated just how little control we have.
Has it been uncomfortable and hard in many ways? Absolutely! Yet, we’re also experiencing a rare opportunity — an almost unavoidable invite to be present with what is. Forced to slow down and take things day by day, to loosen the grips on our plans, we’re called to simply be and bloom where we’re planted.
Being present is something we love to explore in our yoga classes, but you don’t have to be a yogi to experience this joyful state. Below, check out some of our favorite exercises for dropping into the present and reaping the benefits, such as less stress, stronger relationships, greater mental clarity, and, of course, the immune boost that comes with reduced stress.
A walking meditation is an opportunity to tune in to all the sensations you typically take for granted: your breath, the four corners of each foot connecting with the earth, the sounds of nature all around you. You’re free to keep your eyes open or closed, whichever you prefer. Each step taken with mindfulness helps drop us into the moment, closer to our real essence (the “you” who isn’t stressed and rushing everywhere in a mad dash!). So leave your electronics at home, set out for a slowed-down stroll, and allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised by how nourishing it feels to bring your mind and body back together.
At times, regrets from the past or worries about the future can make the task of enjoying the present moment feel Herculean. Putting pen to paper is a powerful way to release that energy and find your way back to balance. You can keep a pretty journal that inspires you, or simply tear your entry to bits once you’ve let it all out. Either way, you’ll feel a refreshing clarity that brings you that much closer to leaning into the beauty of the present. For more tips on journaling, check out our past blog post.
For a delicious introduction to mindful eating, make a date with yourself and an orange…for one hour! At first, this might seem ludicrous, but it just goes to show how frenzied our typical eating habits really are. Take your time peeling the orange, inhaling its sweet scent, savoring the juicy flavor, and all around letting yourself appreciate the miracle of its presence, and your presence. Dropping into the present for just one hour like this is a powerful way to deepen your mindfulness and spark greater joy for the simplest things.
Look Up at the Sky
Remember being a child and making shapes out of the clouds? When was the last time you turned your gaze up to count the clouds, or the stars, or admire the sunset? The beauty and majesty of looking to the sky inspires awe, an emotion that effectively pulls us out of our heads and into the moment. Awe is a transcendent feeling that can help connect us to the greater fabric, and the best part is that you can turn your gaze to the sky at literally any time, no matter where you are.
Loosen Up Your Calendar
Most of us have been forced to at least somewhat rearrange our calendar this year. It can be sad to cross out plans we were looking forward to, and it’s true that we’re still in a bit of a limbo, unsure of what the next few months will bring. But the flip side? We have space for spontaneity that would have felt nearly impossible in our urgent, pre-COVID reality. Room to sit and really ask your neighbors how they’re doing, to let your kids putz around in the yard, and to actually read that book you’ve had on your list for months. With fewer options pulling us every which way, we can let go a little bit and accept this unique summer for what it is — and who knows, maybe even enjoy it!
As always, we’re wishing for the health and happiness of you and your family. With the recent reopening of Haven on the Lake, it has been wonderful to reconnect in person and hear all your stories of resiliency these past few months. To learn more about the changes we’ve made to provide the safest environment possible at Haven, check out last week’s blog post. Hope to see you soon!