Until I had my first health crisis years ago, I did not appreciate good health to extent of my current perspective. Like most active and thriving people, I felt invincible and took it for granted.
One of the many lessons I have learned on my healing journey is to appreciate all there is in the now-to be more present.
You and I do not need adversity in our lives to appreciate any part of it more. We can do it out of an abundance of joy and gratitude from deep within. There are depths of gratitude.
Last week, during days 245-251 of my Bible holiday, I uncovered more. When I am intentionally being present in the moment, I am practicing the path of Christ.
During a walk, I realized my mind was extremely active. Despite enjoying my time, my thoughts were slightly taking me off course. I refocused my energy and intention. I decided to behold and take in as much as I could in my walk.
Touching the trees and shrubs had more sensory meaning. The natural masterpiece growing from the earth modeled the significance of being in each season.
The wintry breeze had a sweet fragrance I had not previously detected, and it whispered a prophesy of spring. Each time the sun broke from the pack of clouds, I stopped in my tracks to lift my face with eyes closed, feeling the warm greeting on my skin.
Gratitude for the innumerable capabilities that I had to observe and sense all that was around me and the overwhelming delight of what I experienced in the present moved me to tears.
By enjoying as much as I could in a single moment without thinking of anything else, my gratitude turned from nonhuman nature to different aspects of my life and life itself.My vision changed even more.
A Different Path
Depending on where you live in the world and where you are in life, being present might feel as if it is easier said than done. For example, the contemporary Western lifestyle focuses on what you do not, should, and could have.
Unknowingly, even you, with the most philanthropic of souls, might carry around scarcity and greed like two sides of a coin. No matter how much you accumulate or accomplish, there seems to be something lacking or missing from your lives.
Different spiritual teachers and paradigms throughout history offer us a different path.
The path of Christ encourages the practice of being present. Jesus taught and lived that cares and woes of today are sufficient.
Typically, when we are not present, we limit our gratitude because we are distracted by situations and conditions beyond us.
I liken it to becoming distracted while driving and missing your turn or ignoring all of the beautiful scenery around you.
You cannot enjoy what you already have or engage more fully and authentically because you are either stuck in the past or floating away in futuristic outer space.
Neither cultivates wells of joy.
On the other hand, taking in and savoring as much as you can that is before and around you in the moment does.
When you find yourself ruminating over the past, you ignore the miracle in the now. When your mind courses along the racetrack in circles about the future, you miss out on the prize right before your very eyes.
I think it is why when going through hardships, some of us depart from these habits of the mind to take it one day at a time. What if we made it more of a lifestyle to pursue deepening gratitude in each day?
If we are unable to physically get away from the crowd of messages and obligations bombarding us in life, in the same ways Jesus would escape the masses of people pulling at him with much expectation, we can leave right where we are. We can turn our minds and our hearts to the very moment without traveling one step.
In this stillness, we can connect with God and the greatness that is within us and in our lives.