...to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free....

20 February, 2011

being present

Babies are so zen.  

Hanging out with them gives  us an opportunity 
to experience life in accordance with some of the tenets 
of Buddhist thought, thinks I. 
(Not that I am an expert in any way:  I was raised a Catholic and most of my training and knowledge of religion is based on Judeo-Christian traditions.) 

In the course of my professional work, however,  I’ve been led to investigate what 
is probably the “top layer” of  some Eastern traditions.  
I have discovered the value of being in the ‘now’, 
letting go of expectations, 
tuning in to what is rather than what might be, 
or once was, or should be instead. 

As I have worked with my clients to help them to develop new ways to cope with loss, depression and anxiety, 
I have found many respond well to the experience of  focusing on the breath, on being present, on letting go of agendas, 
on staying with what is happening right here, in the moment.  
Most find this really challenging at first, but with gentleness and practice, 
it becomes easier and quite rewarding.

Little kids are wonderful teachers in this regard.  
They give us a window into the practice 
in a very sweet and simple way.  
Small children are nothing but in the present.  
It once took me a half hour to walk with my  little friend Emma to the mailbox in front of her home:  she stopped to investigate everything along the way. 
And that was ok with me-- I found it so restful precisely because that was all I expected to do that morning:  to be with 
Emma and see what happened from moment to moment.

I think this is something that grandparents have
 more luxury to experience with their grandchildren 
than parents do with their children.  
When I was a mom, I had the usual ‘other stuff’ to consider--
food for dinner, time to cook it, 
getting to nursery school on time, and, 
especially on the days I worked, getting everything done according to a very unforgiving clock.  
With my grandson, and now with my granddaughter, 
I have had the chance to slow right down, 
let the present moment lead into the next,
 and experience what it is like to simply “be.”  
When that happens, I might feel tired at the end of the day, but it is a physical tiredness, not an emotional one.  

The little ones have so much to teach us.....


  1. Excellent post. Wonderful words. I've been retired for 10 years and it's still something I need to accomplish. We should all think like our grandchildren or our dogs: In the moment!

  2. Yes indeed, they do! I try so very hard to be in the moment of things. Truly, it's all we really have... that very moment to soak in the joy and the beauty. Lovely post.

  3. A nice reminder to help us savor our precious moments! ~Lili

  4. You have captured in words exactly how I feel about being with my grandchildren. It is true that I feel freeer to enjoy each moment with them than I did with their mother...or maybe my memory is just fading:)

    Your grandchildren are adorable!