Well, then. Here we are.
Out with the old, in with the new. Except it never cleans up quite so neatly, does it?
Still. Long-limbs Lenore was on to something that New Year’s Eve in Times Square with Forrest and Captain Dan. “Don’t you just love New Year’s?” she says to Forrest, all hopeful and melancholy. “You get to start all over…Everybody gets a second chance.”
I don’t know that I need a “second chance” this 2018, but I am hoping for some new ways of realizing a more full, more joyful, more arms-wide-open kind of living to take hold and flourish in me and through me this year. I made my list (of course), and number one is this:
Practice the art of being present.
How vague. What does this mean? How do I “be present” when there are multiple schedules to weave into something less chaotic than the tangle of dates, times and events in which they come at me? How do I “be still, live in the moment” when there are groceries to buy, meals to cook, dogs that test positive for Lyme disease, basketball schedules that change daily, article deadlines, cars needing oil changes (or new tires, or new brakes, or…) …blah, blah, blah.
And yet. There it is. Number one on my list. Practice the art of being present.
Early in December, I bought myself five new Moleskine notebooks—hard covered, journal sized, each one a different color. I brought them home and set them standing upright on my desk; still in their wrappers, held in place between my glass vase full of shells I collected with my son, Sam, two summers ago at the beach, and a ceramic Starbucks coffee mug filled with popcorn kernels to give it weight. I look at my notebooks every day when I sit down at my desk. They are my potential idea-exploring holders. As I discover ideas I decide are worthy of exploring (and subsequently, devoting an entire Moleskine notebook to the use of), I pull a Moleskine from the stack, tear away its cellophane wrapping, and label its inside cover with the wondering I want to explore.
I don’t take this decision lightly. Moleskine notebooks are expensive. They are beautiful. They are well constructed. They deserve to be filled with matters that, well, matter. At least, matter to me. So far, I have opened two of my Moleskine notebooks. One is designated for a matter that may (or may not) turn into a book someday. The other has been devoted to (and officially labeled): Being Present.
On this blog, I have tried to write (albeit haphazardly) about the holy mundane of everyday life. To this end, there is nothing new about my Being Present New Year’s Resolution. Except this year (especially after the roller coaster called 2017), I truly mean to plant my feet into its soil and grow in its practice.
That’s the key, isn’t it?
Practice without bemoaning how horrible I am at it. Practice without self-condemnation for how long I’ve missed out on its simple truth. Practice without worrying whether I’ll be able to keep at it, or master it (what a farce), or have it not sound stupid in my stumbling attempts to frame my “present moments” and share them with you.
You see, I don’t want to practice being present for just me. I want to practice being present for you, too. Why? Because, I’m convinced the practice of being present is where healing happens and wholeness begins—for our souls, our families, our communities, our culture. It is in the space of the present moment where Eternity rips through ordinary time, revealing its holiness. The Light of Life stands before us, beckoning us to live in Resurrection Power.
It is what T.S. Eliot calls “The Still Point”:
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
—from The Four Quartets
My hope—my prayer—is that 2018 be the year In These Shoes lives more fully into its original purpose: that of noticing the holy in the mundane, through the practice of being present. Even more, I hope as I am vulnerable in sharing my present moments with you, you—in turn—will feel safe enough to share your present moments with me. Together we will grow in healing and wholeness, knowing “all manner of thing shall be well.”
Let the practice begin. 🙂
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things…practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” —Philippians 4:8-9