Sitting inside an old grocery store turned children’s swim lesson station, I found myself in a perfect moment. Watching my two favorite humans splashing, smiling, and stretching through the process of learning to swim brought tears to my eyes. Not only was I filled with emotion because I was lucky enough to be with my niece and nephew in person, but also because I realized the beauty in recognizing a truly perfect moment. When was the last time that you were living so fully, present, and aware in a moment that you realized it was absolutely perfect?
Lately, the idea of presence has been on my mind a lot. The cultural standard is that we all stay busy busy busy, rushing through our to do lists, checking our email constantly, distracting ourselves with social media, and filling every second of the day with action. I am very guilty of all of this; there have been many times in life when I have used a full schedule as a numbing device, just the same way that I have numbed with food. When I stay busy, I don’t have a chance to pause and reflect on how I am truly feeling. When I run from moment to moment, I neglect to allow awareness of the subtleties of life, energy, and emotion.
It is only when we strip away this numbing device of distraction that we find ourselves in perfect, simple moments. How can you allow for more perfect, simple moments in your life?
Social media is a complicated aspect of our lives these days. I know that I rely on it for connection, business, support, distraction, and inspiration. Sometimes it makes me feel like the world is rapidly expanding, while other times it makes me feel just awful. Lately, I have been trying to become more aware of my reflex to reach for this distraction, which I now realize pops up constantly. I am working hard to change my perspective in these moments. Can times when I feel the itch to open social media become moments where I focus on my breath or ground myself? Can they become a chance to look my partner in the eye? Instead, can I remind myself of a previous memory that was joyful, like watching those perfect, silly swimmers? How will I feel if I take a moment of pause rather than scroll a feed?
Social media is one piece of the puzzle, but there is more to our lack of present awareness than one simple culprit. We all navigate our way through the world in unique ways; we all lean on different tools to distract. Rather than feeling shame about our culture or habits (there is more than enough of that to go around), I am seeking a new perspective. I am actively working to be more aware of my opportunity to get more present. Raising my awareness has already made a difference. Just working to catch myself in the moment of reaching for my phone has slightly shifted the habit. This doesn’t mean I never look at social media, but it does mean that I am trying to change the pathways in my brain that are so accustomed to immediately getting that hit of distraction. By shifting this habit, I am upping my sparkle.
When I feel the craving to distract arise, it signals to me that it is time to take a deep breath, look around the space I am in, check in with my physical body, look at any humans or animals nearby, look up and appreciate the color of the sky, and ask myself what I desire. I may be tired, lonely, sad, or irritated. I may just simply need a break. Feelings those feelings first and foremost will help me move them through or give myself what I truly need and want. Perhaps it is a moment where my intuition is signaling to me that there is something noteworthy that my system is working to communicate. Perhaps, it is a simple moment that is so perfect that experiencing it will inspire a new level of presence and awareness.
The next time you feel the itch to distract, I challenge you to pause, take a deep breath, and take note of something that makes you smile. These simple moments are the foundation of our sparkle.