Courage to be Present

There are moments in life that stop time, that pull our full body, mind and spirit into a calm and an attention that allows us to notice everything and feel all of the feels. These times can sneak up on us, as we are engaging nature, as we are observing our children, as overwhelm spills out over the top and we are forced to slow down or spiral endlessly.
There are also moments that present themselves to us, pleading us to slow down, to take it all in, to be fully present with ourselves, with others, with our surroundings. Moments that you can be sure will pull you in like viewing the Grand Canyon, hearing a beautiful voice in song, or observing birth or death.
Either way, we get invitations for mindfulness. We get opportunities for presence. To accept that invitation takes courage. To decide to be fully aware and engaged is act of bravery. Why is that? How is it that we need courage to be present to our own lives?
Presence requires a focus on the here, the now, and what and who is around us. It means we must be able and willing to put aside the memories of the past, the dreams of the future, and the plans for later today. We must put down our phones, put away our technologies, and just be. To be. To be with. That can make us feel exposed, naked, and afraid. Our brains want to protect us, to shut down or shut off any pain that is within us, or around us. Our brains want to keep away the exposed feeling by keeping us occupied, engaged with the to-do list, and fighting the fires of daily life.
We need to summon courage to quiet our brains and ensure it knows that we are in charge, that we, get to call the shots. Our courage is what allows us to face the present, and sit with what is here, what is now.  Courage that allows vulnerability. Courage that allows space between the stimulus and the response. Courage that requires we not plan, we not organize, we just do – the laundry, the cooking, the driving, the listening.
Let’s talk about how courage to be present evolves over our lifetimes. It’s not hard for children to focus on what is in front of them, to be fully mindful of the leaves on the path in front of them and the wind in their hair, rushing by their ears. They aren’t thinking ahead, planning the carpools and the lunches to be packed. When does that change for us, and why? Let’s talk about how to re-capture that mindfulness and what gets in the way. Let’s practice together and share our practices from home.
Join us this Thursday, October 18th for Mom’s Morning Retreat. At Grace Church on Day Road, Bainbridge Island, we will experience presence with one another and with ourselves. Over coffee/tea/cider/hot cocoa and warm goodies to nosh, with our children engaged with our expert caregivers and one another on site, we will gather at 9:30am-11am to be courageous and present. All who care for children of all ages are welcome. First meeting is always open for you to meet us and see if our community is right for you. Registration can be by check, by card, or by cash and private scholarships are available to those who need. We hope to see you there and look forward to connecting and replenishing together.