Show Up Each Moment

Are you looking back over 2013 this new year of 2014?

A timely reblog – This New Year, I vow to show up each moment.

Show Up Each Momentby Andrea Chilcote

On this summer holiday weekend, half-way through 2013, it seems fitting to reflect back on my resolve to “not look back.” Hmmm… is that an oxymoron?

I’m not looking back over 2012 this new year of 2013. In fact, I don’t intend to look back again. This new year, I vow to show up each moment.

On the weekend I was talking with teacher and life coach Lauri Cloud. Once again, she nearly knocked me over with a blinding insight. “You know what trips you up Andrea?” she offered. “You keep looking back.” She went on to say that the popular advice that seems to be showing up everywhere today, telling us to release everything from past regrets to deep-seated, age-old feelings, is the very thought pattern that is keeping us (and me) from rising above them.

That made a lot of sense to me. I have worked to stay present in the moment at hand for at least as long as I can remember. And like so many lessons, I keep learning it.

Well, I have a new practice. I resolve to not compare my present circumstances to past situations. I will embrace each experience as if it is new. Now that doesn’t mean I won’t utilize the precious experience gained. It simply requires me to release the fear that inevitably accompanies the comparison.

Almost at the very moment I gained this insight, life presented an opportunity to practice my resolve, as life on earth does so often.

In the post-holiday days when many are easing themselves into the routine of their lives, I’ve been very busy with a combination of work and personal commitments. It’s the kind of time I’ve come to describe as “no room for error” – everything is planned and will work out fine providing nothing interrupts the schedule.

Dear reader, you know my next line. The plan was interrupted, by circumstances that surpassed its urgency.

So what did I do? I did what I know to be the only choice for me: prioritize the heart over the head. What I did not do was flawlessly execute my goal of being present and not looking back. As a result, I experienced ample stress. But here is the gem, the gold. Not one fear that was rooted in the past or future mattered in the end. The only times I was productive, at peace and of service to others were those moments in which I was present.

Why then, I ask myself – and you… why would we choose anything other than the present moment in this grand New Year?

This voice in your head takes you away completely from what is happening now. You’re out in some future moment where things might go wrong or you are trapped in the past where you are continuously replaying an old movie in your mind about the time you failed a school examination or someone said something unkind. You’re stuck, but you can’t see it. The movie feels like an absolute reality, and it keeps you from truly acknowledging or appreciating life as it is now. But it’s not reality. You can’t see the present. You’re too busy with where you want to be next (or where you were), which causes continual stress. The only solution is awareness, awareness that the voice in your head is really just repeating thoughts—no more, no less. Eckhart Tolle

_______

This post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a weekly blogger.

Being There: Nature’s Enduring Conversation By Guest Blogger Karla Boyd

 

 

It’s set to be a very hot July 4th Holiday here in my desert. I’m longing to connect with nature for more than the scant 60 minutes I get each morning before the scorching sun rises, and so it seems fitting to share my friend and colleague Karla Boyd’s piece on “Nature’s  Enduring Conversation.” Enjoy. I’ll be back to writing after I’ve had a long hike. – Andrea

 

I wake up to a hot shower, liquid hot packs on tired shoulders. Later I start to climb a mountain trail close to home. Near the curve of my lookout I gaze over the vast panorama and breathe in deeply. The view looks good from here.

Recently, Heather Armstrong, writer and lover of Super Mutts, Chuck and Coco, took her daughters, Marlo and Leeta, on an outdoor adventure. Hand gliding, Crocodile Bungee or Volcano Boarding you might ask? No. Who needs to lean over cliffs when we’re cut off from our roots?

Heather packed her kids in the car and drove 3.5 hours to Arches National Park in Utah in the snow.  The oldest daughter after seeing this magnificent red-orange, brick-hued arch quipped, “Awesome, being out here is, like, nothing I’ve seen ever.” And given the internet, media’s playground, that says it all. Nature, it’s like nothing we have ever seen.

In our American scarcity conversation, our hunt for the next adrenaline rush, we ignore the obvious. To connect with Mother Earth. We all need to recharge, powered by slow walks and energized runs out onto grassy knolls. Nature is a magnificent host anchoring us, granting inspiration to fuel our day and to stay in relationship.

I love nature’s creatures. Okay, I love most of them. But in nature, there is an enduring conversation that is constantly teaching us. As William Shakespeare said,  “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” That certainly was true for me yesterday.

I was at a beautiful gathering in a community on acres of rolling hills, wisteria and gardens that overlook fountains and a little Buddha planted amidst bright yellow and indigo flowers. I was there in birthday celebration of a life reaching out from her 92 years, her contribution inspiring to all who know her. As I walked toward the assembly hall, I was a bit surprised to see the gathering crowd staring off at the grass as if they had not seen green earth before. Granted many came from nearby brown hills with temperatures sweltering in the high 90’s, but this is a wet ocean town. The grass is always green.

As I approached so did a friend, one of the community residents. Momentarily I saw the grass come alive. Bryce glided through the crowd and swooped the snake up in one smooth movement, holding him then in the air. People gasped. A photo was taken. Bryce ceremoniously draped the snake around his neck, smiling. Astonished vocalizing ensued. Some laughed. The snake squirmed. Bryce departed, snake in tow.

Later, I asked Bryce about his experience. To my admiration he responded, “Poor guy, he got scared when people laughed.” My snake phobia melted watching him that day. Bryce confided he felt himself a snake in a former life and he was recognizing his great-grand nephew. We both smiled. We are all connected. What better way to be reminded of our connection than in celebration of a 92 year-old life, while engaging nature’s paradise?

(Karla Boyd, the author of this piece can be found at http://www.namasteglobalvision.com/)

A Time for Every Purpose

 

by Andrea Chilcote

 

The following post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a weekly blogger. This summer, followers of this blog will enjoy bi-weekly archived posts that have appeared on The Spirited Woman but never before on this site. 

Invigorated by an idyllic beach walk with my beloved dogs, wind in my face, the refrain of an old song was playing in my head. “Turn, Turn Turn,” made popular by The Byrds in the 60’s, is based on the book of Ecclesiastes:

To everything
There is a season
And a time to every purpose under heaven

As we laughed and played in the California surf and sand, I felt pure joy. Then, suddenly, I remembered the pain a friend in Arizona is experiencing as she grieves the loss of a dear companion. Once again I was reminded of the seeming contradictions in this experience of life, and our ability to ride the waves of change with resilience and grace. Our beach dance was a reminder to keep the faith.

A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

Intrigued by the power these words had over me, I did a bit of research and learned that the songwriter, Pete Seeger, is still alive today at age 93, singing and giving interviews to convey his enduring message of hope for our world. On Monday of this week he had a studio audience singing along to “Quite Early Morning,” a song he wrote in 1969 to “inspire people to keep the faith that a better world is possible, even in the midst of suffering, tragedy, and setbacks.”

Don’t you know it’s darkest before the dawn
And it’s this thought keeps me moving on
“Quite Early Morning” by Pete Seeger

Whether at this moment you dance or mourn, it is yours to either embrace or resist. At least for today, I’m choosing to dance.