Pause: v. to stop temporarily, to linger for a time
Present: adj. now existing or in progress, being in view or at hand
I take two yoga classes a week, which I love for many reasons, not the least of which is the opportunity to slow down and pay attention to the present moment. We practice being present by focussing on the breath and on the sensations in the body as it’s twisted into pretzel-like postures (future P-post?).
All well and good. My problem is bringing that focus into the rest of my life, starting with the ten-minute drive to yoga class.
Somehow I’m always running behind. I try to pack 14 last minute tasks into a time slot that can maybe hold three. So on the drive to class I’m trying to figure out how to pass the slow-poke car ahead of me, how to time the next stoplight, whether to take an alternate and possibly faster route.
You get the idea. I’m not present.
This race to yoga is not a winning strategy. This morning, for example, the sun was just poking out behind a blue-gray storm cloud and lighting up a patchwork of brilliant yellow and red leaves on the trees that line Burnt Bridge Creek. If I’d had an extra two minutes, I would have pulled off the road and just soaked in the beauty of the light, the clouds, the fall foliage.
Well, I consoled myself, maybe the scene will still be that lovely when I pass it on my way home. But of course two hours later the rain was falling heavily and the view was obliterated.
That particular moment is gone forever. I could spend THIS present moment beating myself up for my bad habit of running so late that any pause is impossible. Instead I decided to find a little beauty in my own yard when the rain broke (briefly) a few minutes ago.
Here’s one colorful corner – a formerly purple cotinus (unbeatable for fall color!) in front of my formerly green grapevine ( you have to click on it because the expanded image is much better):