The Present of the Present

Lately my “to do list” has been waking me up in the morning. Juggling five part time jobs and all of my creative and social activities has required nothing short of Martha Stewartesque, genius planning. Before going to bed and as soon as I open my eyes, the list starts running. It is endless and, taken all at once, is extremely overwhelming. “Hyperattention” to the little details of living have the potential to cause stress and anxiety.

So what’s the cure?

The present of the present. It sounds like a paradox, but it is true. Being present to the present moment decreases the stress and anxiety that our endless parade of tasks can create.

I’ve heard it said, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Although I do not endorse eating elephants (they are beautiful creatures after all), the message of the saying is clear. When we look at a large task or a long to do list, it seems as though the relative level of difficulty in achieving it is tremendous. However, when we focus on one task, one breath, one moment at a time, we are given a gift. That gift is the possibility of enjoying the present! Being present allows the to do list to fall away leaving only the pleasure of the current activity. From that space, we have access to creative ideas and inspiration that will assist us in getting all those other things done.

Rikka Zimmerman, a spiritual teacher, asks that we consider the possibility that we are “jacks of all trades and masters of none”. Perhaps our spirits enjoy the variety that having multiple tasks allows. Perhaps we are meant to enjoy this variety to the utmost.

Along with the seeming shift in economics and in consciousness, we seem to be called upon to express more of our gifts and talents in order to meet what we perceive as our basic needs. For me, that has meant allowing myself full expression as an educator, healer, singer, writer and speaker.

I don’t see my to do list getting any shorter anytime soon. In fact, I just auditioned to be in a musical (I know, with all my spare time). I’ve given up the idea that I’m ever going to have any extra time. All I really have is this present moment and my intention is to enjoy it.


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