Have you ever found yourself driving when suddenly “awakened” and realize you are miles down the the road from last you remember? You were not asleep, but you clearly drove the car for some distance without being conscious of steering.
Everyone drifts away — taken by deeper thoughts, memories, anxieties and emotions — to an inner world within our mind. Or, we focus on ideas and images that override our being alert and responding to the present.
Daydreaming is one aspect of this; becoming self-absorbed in technology is another.
Whether checking Facebook post, Tweets, texts, playing Candy Crush, Angry Birds, browsing websites or scanning the news, the handheld phone is drawing us more and more away from being “in the moment.”
And I will confess that I am as guilty as everyone else.
As a writer, time is precious and evaporates even faster when I am not putting my thoughts and creations together into words. I am a Facebook addict in many ways — I adore my family and friends. They often gather in cyberspace and that is not a bad thing. Spending hours reading memes and such is not a good thing. My productive moments are competing with more distractions now. And when I am not texting or posting I go into passive rest mode — and with that I am turning off my ability to observe, reflect and rejuvenate my mind.
I have taken to be more deliberately alert to my world. Listening more. Seeing more. Using all five senses as a sponge draws water. And the world is alive with so much to experience once again.
Yesterday, I noticed that the dragonflies were abundant and active around my Gulf Coast home near Tampa. They seemed fearless, flying to me, letting me get close up and personal. I tried to hear the buzz of their wings. I marveled at their diverse colors and sheen.
Some have clear wings with mosaic lines. Others are a shiny metallic green. Still others have a tobacco-tint. All have stunning egg-shaped eyes with thousands of minute optics. Their flights are dazzling, darting escapades from leaf to leaf.
The little ubiquitous Florida lizards that dart and dash, are basking in the August heat. The neighbor, walking his tail-wagging little white dog, told me that we don’t have snakes if the lizards are plentiful. Good to know.
And in one morning I saw three different pairs of butterflies drifting on the wind — a wonderfully black couple with radiant blue tails, a soft yellow pair and a magnificent set of twin Monarchs.
I really engaged the breeze, too. I could sense a wood fire had burned overnight somewhere distant. There was no haze or smoke, but the earthy scent was slightly harsh and I could taste it in the back of my throat.
Barefoot, my toes were tickled by drops of water lingering from the late night rains. Damp, yet refreshing, the grass had recently been cut. Still green shards clung to my feet. The wonderful aroma of cut lawn pushed the campfire memories away.
The stuttering call of the Sandhill Crane broke the silence. Three of the incredibly lanky and tall birds strutted nearby. Their steps legs seem thin and wooden; their bodies lurch forward in an odd movement when they stride. I love the bright red patch that runs like a mask about their eyes.
I was in the moment. There was only now and my senses heightened with the realization that I was not only in the moment, I was part of the moment. For a few brief minutes there was no worry, no anticipation, no distraction from the now that I was gathering with all five senses.
Within that moment, I was as alert and energized as I have ever been. I carried that with me throughout the day — doing all I could to remain in the moment in each and everything I did during the hours ahead. Every conversation. Every meal. Every word read and every word written. Alive, in that my focus, my senses and my mind stayed in sync and on point. Truly listening. Truly engaging those things happening in that second I was alive.
It was a great day. I was incredibly productive with my coaching, my writing, my ideation of new projects. My partner was more beautiful and tender. My old dog, Toby, more playful and sweet. Food tasted better. Words ricocheted around my noggin and music danced lively in my ears.
All from just being aware and alive in the now.