Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Startling Life

Today I saw a sign that quoted Emily Dickinson: "To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else." It seems like a lot of us, myself included, act is if the opposite is true. "Everything else" takes so much time that we have little time to LIVE. I set all my intentions to be present, enjoy and be grateful for all that I have, and still I find myself rushing through the moment to get to the next thing, the next thing, the next thing.

I thank all of the children at Eagle Rock Elementary who performed in the holiday program today because they help me spend one entire hour being completely present and in the moment. It's so much easier to do when you're surrounded by children ~ especially when my cell phone is turned off and there's no computer or TV in sight. Why are we so drawn, attracted like moths tot he proverbial flame, when there's an electronic gadget at hand? Why is that device deserve our attention? You could be at the most fun, active, lively party anywhere, but turn on a TV and the activity wanes; people zone out.

All of our modern gadgets make our lives easier, in a lot of ways, but have they made us any happier?

Don't get me wrong. You won't see me giving up my dishwasher, my computer or my digital camera anytime soon. You'll have to pry my cell phone out of my cold fingers. There are days when I could cut the cord on the television in a heartbeat, but I'd regret it the minute I wanted to put in one of my beloved Spiritual Cinema Circle movies.

So how "to live," to be present in a sped-up world full of distractions ~ especially if you're a Gemini like me and going in two different directions all the time, anyway? I suppose it's like anything; it comes down to intention and practice. Setting an intention to be present, at least a few minutes every day, and practice it often enough so that it becomes second nature (or first nature, as it truly is). Meditation is good for whatever ails you, but most days it feels like just one more thing to do, one more To Do on my incredibly long list for the day.

I should be grateful that the answer is so simple: do nothing, at least for a few minutes every day. Do nothing. That, in itself, is a pretty startling idea in my busy world. I am putting it at the top of my list from now on. If I can't check that one off, then I maybe I should give up on the rest!

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