August 11th, 2017

Being Present (What's That All About?)

byMich Manaras
Blog

I was walking home from a great day in the studio and inches from my apartment building entrance I thought about needing to write my next blog. I instantly felt an ever-so-slight anxiousness creep up out of nowhere and raise my heart rate; right in the chest.

That feeling of needing to get something done has always done this to me; a trigger capable of instantly setting me off even in the zen-est of moments. However unlike before I’ve become much more aware of it, and like an alarm signalling for response, I’ve taught myself to take a deep breath and ask a few questions.

Am I currently writing my blog? (not actually right now, but when I was walking) No. Is there any reason to allow something being done in the future affect this lovely, leisurely stroll? Nope.

And just like that, I recalibrated myself, took a deep breath and told myself to enjoy the moment. I’d planned on going home, sitting down in the kitchen and assaulting my laptop, but no, I decided instead to enjoy; the kitchen and laptop weren’t going anywhere. So I made a 180 and headed over the little Italian place around the corner from me.

Although the thought of needing to work gave me a moment of anxiety, it was just enough to remind me I wasn’t being present. Just like the moments of meditation where my mind drifts into an overwhelming future, it only takes a few seconds before I acknowledge and return to right now.

This is something very new to me and I’m not writing this to put my mastery of zen on display, but to explore my fascination with the concept; I’ve only just begun to tap into it.

I always reacted to whatever stimulus was sent my way, and volatility was (and still is) a huge component to my personality. Although I still feel it, I’m teaching myself to absorb and understand before I react. It may sound like a bunch of hocus pocus but it’s relaxed me tremendously; if someone cuts me off or writes a nasty comment, it doesn’t bother me as much as it did. (Well when I remember to hold off my primal instinct!)

What if I skipped that lovely “Cacio e Pepe” pizza to rush into my apartment and write? I would’ve inadvertently let that anxiety seep into my blog and unfortunately rub off onto innocent readers. And what about when I finished? I probably would’ve taken it easy for the night only to put myself in the exact same situation tomorrow.

There will always be another blog to write, another song to record, another presentation at work, another family event coming up, another, another, another. If we’re always focusing on the next thing, we’re never actually enjoying the current thing. This is how I was until very, very recently; it was always about what came next and as a result I forgot to enjoy where I was.

I know I’m making it sound like I’ve figured it out, but I haven’t; I drift out of my lane all the time. But like I said, I’m getting better and working on it. I always use the muscle analogy, but let’s picture this “being present” concept as a new exercise, I’m still figuring out the form and I’m using really light weight, I have a lot to learn and my muscle has a lot of development ahead. But I’m slowly seeing results, and it’s compelling me to keep going.

If I truly enjoy what I’m doing, then why would I put myself in a situation preventing me from doing so. Why would I want to be anywhere else than where I am? Focusing on rushing towards somewhere I’m not means I’m using all today’s energy for tomorrow. With that logic I’d be missing every day for tomorrow, and when tomorrow came I’d be focusing on the day after.

I just realized the entire last paragraph was a bit psychedelic, but I’m sure you’re buying what I’m selling!

Yes, work needs to be done, but there’s a time and place for it. If I’m having a coffee at 7:30 am, why would I preoccupy myself with what I’ve planned to do at work at 9:30. I’m sure there’s great stuff going on at 7:30 I can be quite content with!

If I skipped dinner and not gone to the Italian place, I never would’ve sat down at the bar, ordered the pizza and green tea and struck up a conversation with the lovely waitress who’d never seen that food and beverage combination before.

And believe it or not as I was eating, telling lame jokes and trying to look cool to Erika, I got a phone call telling me one of my blogs had been republished by a pretty big website.

Well look at that, I know they say good vibes pave the way for good stuff, does that mean if I put everything off and have a good time, I’ll be rewarded?

Nah, I didn’t think so either. Either way, I’m doing my best to enjoy right now, and take care of business when it’s time, not before.

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