Woah. Writing out “Day 17” in the title section woke me up this morning. It’s already October 17th? The calendar on my wall still displays September. And I could have sworn I just turned 24 yesterday.
It’s always scary when time gets away from me like that.
We have all had this wish: last forever. Certain moments, feelings, days, songs, breaths. And we certainly have all wished the opposite, too. Having either of those wishes causes some amount of sadness, of grasping, a pull out of the present moment, however lovely or dreadful it may be.
Ugh. Present moment. Do you know how many times, as a yoga teacher, a Bay Area native, and a friend of hippies that I hear that phrase in a week? Too too many times. So many times that it’s become something to joke about, so cliche, so nauseating. Live in the present we’re told in some fashion, ever since the moment we are an infant and cry about something that happened yesterday, or cry about something that’s going to happen tomorrow.
I’ll admit something: I find it hard to be present. I know I know, a yoga teacher who has a hard time living in the moment–hilarious, I’m sure. That is why I started practicing yoga, why I started teaching. Because yoga is a practice of the present. And so is climbing, in a more dramatic way of course–be present or fall. Writing, too, is way to practice the NOW because it’s a stream of thoughts–of current, happening, flowing from the brain thoughts. The more I practice being in the present, the happier I am.
Happier even, when the present isn’t something so fun. Because even the shitty stuff deserves examining. Not so much why it happened, or how it happened, or why God hates you and not the next guy, but how it makes your body feel. How you react to it. Learn about yourself.
So how do we catch the present? Catch it if you can, says Annie Dillard. And ain’t that the truth.
This moment is like a headscarf, tied onto the head of a gorgeous woman with blonde hair and pink lipstick who is riding shot gun in a convertible with the top down. The car is going fast, and the wind whips the scarf around, until it loosens and breaks free. The woman reaches back behind her with an extended hand. Sometimes she catches the scarf, just in time, takes the shade down and looks at herself in the mirror, ties the scarf tighter this time and goes on with her day. But sometimes it gets away from her, carried by the wind, lifted by air behind the car, and all the woman can do is watch. She turns around in the front seat, two manicured hands on the head rest, and sees the scarf flutter for a moment, then drop down to the earth where it will rest. And there’s nothing to say, because it’s gone.
Catch it if you can.