Being present in the moment, appreciating and being grateful for what is emerging in the moment is a very powerful way to reduce stress, but more, it is an extraordinary way to live.
Being Present Can Change What We See
Last weekend I had the pleasure of going to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA with my son and his wife. There were two special photography exhibits there. One was the work of a photographer who had a very different technique that offered unusual perspectives on the subjects he shot. The result was fascinating and unusual, but I found it lacking in some way I could not immediately define.
The second photographer shot nature scenes that often included her family members interacting with each other and nature in a most ordinary way. I was struck by the heart and life that jumped out of the photos. They had depth, feeling and richness that for me was absent in the other exhibit.
Being Present Can Change How We Feel
As we left that gallery I thought, “Amazing, ordinary life seen in a way that makes it extraordinary by virtue of someone’s attention and presence.” Then a memory floated past …an old interview replayed of a young woman who had recently died at 34 years old. She spent the first three years of her life in a hospital because she needed to be on a ventilator several hours a day. After three years Medicaid laws were changed and she was able to go home with the ventilator that she had to use several hours of every day…for life.
This young woman was in school to be a teacher at the time of her death. She and her mother had accomplished quite a lot advocating for those with disabilities. However, that was not what struck me as the most important part of the interview. What struck me was her statement, “I only ever wanted to live an ordinary life.”
For how many of us is that what is given and possible and yet we want fame, fortune, bigger and better etc. This focus, always on what we do not have and want, often results in squandering our precious time, life force and the experience of life itself.
Being Present Allows Feeling to Flow, Grief to be Healed and Change to Happen With Grace
Apparently this is the week for this message to come home to me as the following video slid into my email box during the same time period as the interview and the museum visit. It very eloquently depicts being able to see the extraordinary in the ordinary and expresses what an incredible gift that is to have.
How can we hold our appreciation and awareness of the extraordinary that is in the ordinary?