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Reconnect, wake up

Waking up isn’t something that happens once

Sorry for the long delay between posts. I’ve been very focused on myself (I’m so selfish!) and have been diligently practicing being present, meditating and making mindful life decisions. Waking up is harder than I thought.

Waking up isn’t a singular event.

In my guided meditation practice (Tara Brach), something that comes up often is the idea that when you brain drifts into thoughts, all you need to do is “come back” and that act is in fact, “waking up.” What’s incredible about that is that it means that the act of waking up isn’t a singular, massive, black and white event.

Waking up isn’t binary.

Waking up is a constant battle. It’s a war that is waged in micro-moments, minute by minute. Day by day.

I journaled recently that “being present is a verb” and that it requires energy and focus. It’s not a natural act. For some it may be easier, but not for me. My natural tendency is to zone out, live in virtual reality, tune the world out and retreat into my own thoughts.

I think I see where I got off track. I had been looking to attain a sort of “god-like” presence, some moment in time when I can proclaim that I am “living in the moment!” And in that fantasy I would leave my present, unhappy existence and enter my dream world. A dream world where I get to sing and dance and skip off into the future a happy, fulfilled human being.

But it’s not like that at all.

Waking up is more like slogging through the Fire Swamp in the Princess Bride. It’s a step by step realization that I am either present or not. Awake or asleep. In control or on auto-pilot.

Waking up and being present is a battle, waged every second of every day – in every big and little moment of our lives.

Living Life To It’s Fullest Requires Mindfulness and Presence

Part of getting older now is this odd feeling of “Yep, I’ll never do that thing or this thing again, or ever for that matter.” Door feel like they are closing. And I guess that’s natural. At 46 as of this writing, I’m starting to feel scared that given the path I’m on right now, I’ll regret not doing certain things in my life. I’m not living life to it’s fullest.
When I think of having regrets like that, I say “Holy shit, I do not want to regret anything.” Given that there is still time on the clock, I don’t regret anything really. I own the choices I’ve made in my life and can live with my decisions and actions. It’s the stuff I’ve NOT done that is starting to scare me a bit.
I left home for college, got married, had kids. Lived on both coasts. Got jobs, quit jobs. Went on amazing vacations and more. All good decisions, all Carpe Diem. But it’s the things I haven’t done — the things that have truly scared me that worry me.
Like all of us, my journey has been an interesting one. But it’s not over yet. There is a lot more to do and to experience. As I’ve written on this blog, I’m experimenting and learning as fast as I can — or at least faster than I had been until somewhat recently! I do know that while the path I’m on today is better than it was a few years ago, it’s still not quite right.
But on deeper introspection over the past few days as I’ve been writing this post, I realized that this must be how life works. The figuring it out part is life – the really real actual journey. I feel like I have known this for a while but for some reason it is only now sinking in. If life were a movie (I know, it’s not!) then this would be the montage sequence where I struggle and try and fuck up and learn and grow and figure out which direction to head. My character “arc” would progress and I’d learn something new that would lead to growth and change. I feel as if I have managed to ignore a lot of the growth I should have had the past 20 years and now that I’m cognizant of it, I can pay attention to it and honor it.

So, what does it mean to live life to it’s fullest?

What I’m slowly realizing is that the destination is a by product of all that figuring stuff out — let’s call that part “Living life to it’s fullest.” It requires mindfulness and presence. Both things I struggle with. This is an entirely new way to look life for me and it’s a bit disorienting. But it is exciting and feels positive and good. I’m going with it. Because if I’m on my deathbed with regrets, that would be bad. I’d very much like to avoid that fate.