Showing Up vs. Being There

When I was in 3rd grade I got a certificate for perfect attendance. The irony of the situation was that on the day of the awards ceremony I was absent. That is an experience that has always stuck out in my memories of childhood. 

The thing is, we often have fuzzy moments of our lives that we recall, rather than a life full of intense and vivid memories.

I have experienced many major milestones this past year and have had several intense transitions in my life during this time as well. In just the last few months nearly a dozen folks that I admire, call examples and have looked to as role models have passed on. They were accomplished individuals, some famously so, and others simply known and revered to those who had the privilege of sharing their last name or zip code.

I heard myself saying and saw myself posting on twitter, that there must be some sort of conspiracy going on in the universe. Then as I heard and read the words over several occassions, I realized that isn’t exactly how the universe works. Death is just as common and miraculous as birth…and curiously enough so is the part in between…

The living part. 

It seems crazy, and even definitively inaccurate, to think of miracles as common things. Yet when you consider the human body and what has to be in place and in sync for us to take a breath, and that if for some reason we fail to take a breath we will fail to live, you begin to apprehend how common miracles really are.

We love to think of miracles this time of year. We love to sing of them. We love to watch movies & plays about them. We love to celebrate them.

Yet when was the last time you celebrated the miracle of your life? When was the last time you paid attention to the miracle that is your life?

If someone sat underneath a shooting star reading a book, or cursed the darkness caused by an eclipse, or failed to acknowledge their own birthday let alone the birth of a new baby, we would question their saneness. We would wonder at their lack of humanity.

Yet when was the last time you were present and reveled in the miracle that is your life?

This is what I have been doing. I have been being present.

I have been watching my dog as he walks.

I have been thinking of my students’ faces and backstories as I grade their papers.

I have been watching my husband as he washing dishes.

I have been looking at the walls I wish to paint in my apartment.

I have been riding in cars with my friends and laughing.

I have been sitting at my mother (in-laws’) kitchen table chatting & watching soaps.

I have been writing nothing down, yet remembering so much more. Being present has been the greatest gift of joy I’ve given myself in quite some time. When was the last time you recall being really present in the moment? Do you think being present always bring more joy to our lives? What are some of the ways that you bring meaning to your life?

2 thoughts on “Showing Up vs. Being There

  1. I absolutely love this. You’ve made me realize why my memory is so poor, why I can’t recall minor details of, well..anything. Only recently have I been truly present in my life–truly here and now and slowing down and watching and witnessing what a true miracle every moment is if only we pay attention.

    • I’m so glad that it was helpful! Your point referring to poor memory is right on the money. One of the things that I noticed many of my family members of all ages saying was either, “I don’t understand why my memory has gotten so rotten” or “I’m too young to be having these memory problems.” Many times we think it’s just the way of the world, yet a change such as this can help us realize we have more power over what happens to our minds (and bodies and souls) than we give ourselves credit for.

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