Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Presence

Last year's resolutions were all about survival.

Getting through the year.

If I were superstitious, the last year would have been enough to make me think there's something behind the rumors of unluck that swirl around number 13.

This year, I decided to expand my horizons past the goal of survival. In the past, my New Year's resolutions have rotated between the practical and manageable: Eat a piece of fruit every day. To the amorphous and unchartable: Bring kindness into the world.

That second direction, amorphous and unchartable, was the way this year's resolutions were headed. I'm going to be kind, I told myself on New Year's Eve. And then later in the day, I resolved to be accepting. A kind person, accepting of other people's flaws, who eats a piece of fruit each and every day. So you know, basically perfect.

But then, on New Year's Day, I had an epiphany regarding the PERFECT resolution.

This year, 2014, will be the year of presence. I'm going to immerse myself as wholly as possible in the present moment. Ironically, I made this resolution while doing yoga, so clearly, this year's goal might be a bit of a challenge for me.

I always thought multi-tasking was a good thing, but lately I wonder what my distractedness causes me to miss.

I wonder if I'm like a child in the backseat of the car, head down in a comic book, headphones on, texting on the side while panoramic views of the Grand Canyon sweep past unseen.

There's no way to keep track of all the moments when I'm not present, but I can make an effort to be present in real measurable ways throughout my day, and not just for writing which is the thing that often sucks me, not only out of the present moment, but into an alternate universe.

I'll start small; really engage in a conversation about Skylander's Swap Force and what strange new thing occurred in the sixth grade. And build up from there.

Who knows what I'll discover. Maybe it'll be a landmark kind of moment, fondly remembered for years to come. Maybe it'll just be that video games are every bit as boring as I suspected.

What about you? Do you make resolutions? Are they the quantifiable kind or are they more slippery?

22 comments:

~Sia McKye~ said...

And then later in the day, I resolved to be accepting. A kind person, accepting of other people's flaws, who eats a piece of fruit each and every day. So you know, basically perfect. Lol!

Being present in the moment sounds good. Being aware. Life's chores do tend to focus our attention and we don't see other things around us--or if we do it's a glance instead of attention.

I don't really make resolutions. I have a couple of goals-one of which I was making good progress with until the disaster of June. Now it's in the forefront again with determination behind it. It will make my present better daily. :-)

Sia McKye Over Coffee

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

I didn't make any this year, but this is a good one!
We've had quite a few Skylander Swap Force conversations here, too. ;)

ilima said...

Wow. This really hit home for me. I need to work on this too. Most of my resolutions are quantifiable, but I applaud anyone who desires and makes an effort to better themselves, no matter the method. Good luck!

Jane Hanbury said...

I don't do resolutions either :) http://booketta.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/a-brand-new-year.html

Diana Wilder said...

Okay, you got me thinking, which is a hard thing to do when fighting a cold. I like the resolution. I may copy it with a change: recall. If I'm doing something, pause to reflect what it is that I am doing, and whether it was planned. That is to say, Am I doing this by accident? What is my purpose? ...bears thought, I think.
Diana at About Myself By Myself

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

They say multi-tasking is actually less productive. (Until told otherwise though by my boss, I shall continue to work, blog, and watch NetFlix at the same time.)

Julie Flanders said...

LOL I cracked up at your comment at coming up with this while doing yoga. I am the world's worst when it comes to distractions so I can relate to that. I sometimes think I have the attention span of a toddler.

Barbara Watson said...

Hhaaa! I blogged this week about how I don't set resolutions, but I love the idea of yours. Being present in the moment. That's a resolution I can be in tune with.

Johanna Garth said...

Sia, you'd think it would be easier, but I'm constantly reminding myself to be in the here and now.

Rachel, I knew I needed this resolution when I realized I don't know any of the characters names.

Thanks Ilima!

Hi Jane, thanks for stopping by.

Diana, I like the twist.

Alex, if you can blog and watch Netflix then you are much more of an accomplished multi-tasker than I am!

Julie, I totally did. As the instructor was talking about being in the moment. I was all off somewhere else!!

Barbara, I thought about your no resolution post when I went to the gym today. ;)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

My husband says I am the Energizer Bunny and Hammy the Squirrel rolled into one. Holding still and just being is almost impossible for me. I hope you can do it.

Carol Kilgore said...

I make goals because I always break resolutions. But yours is excellent. I may adopt it and do my best not to break it.

Happy 2014!

Cathrina Constantine said...

I considered making a resolution, but then stopped because I never pull through. I am going to try and set some goals. I am an awful procrastinator!

Nicki Elson said...

I haven't made any resolutions yet - but this is a great one. I'm so busy juggling I'm rarely ever there. Mind if I share your goal? Maybe I'll start doalbe w/ listen more to my kids and talk at them less. Yeah, I like that.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I hope you report back on how it works. Some recent studies on dovetailing support your suggestion about missing things. They indicate we end up not doing any of the things well. Not good with writing.

Shell Flower said...

Presence is a great resolution in our techy society. I strive to be present even with my partner, and I know when my son was younger it was a blessing that mobile phones didn't really exist. I still don't own one, but they suck so many around me in. Your kids are young and need you. Presence is a gift.

Emily R. King said...

You always make me laugh. :)

My resolution is a lot like yours. I'm tired of waiting for a reason to be happy. I'm going to find a reason every day and enjoy each day more. Here's to us both finding happiness in the "now!"

Happy 2014!

Tammy Theriault said...

trust me...video games are a vortex - don't do it!! I love your idea of finding each day in the moment of the day. go for it! you got this girlie!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Johanna!

Happy New Year!

It is so true... we really do get so involved and miss what's in front of us or next to us.

But awareness is a good thing. Living in the moment and enjoying and participating in life is a good thing too!

All the best for 2014! I hope to see lots of you around the blogosphere....

I'm having a COFFEE HOP, next Friday. If you love coffee, you won't want to miss the fun. LOL.

Not only that, it would be GREAT to see you!

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I have one quantifiable resolution (to beat my last year's time in the 5K) but otherwise didn't make any. I make unquantifiable ones daily, kind of in a subconscious way. Being in the moment - ah yes - that's the most meaningful way to live.

Be well and enjoy the moments, Johana.
xoRobyn

Mark Koopmans said...

Aloha!

I've never been the resolution type of dude, but I am 100 percent into trying to be an everyday pay-it-forward guy.

So far, I've done four (small) things to help others - including saving a coconut that was floating away in the ocean... long story - and have received strange looks on three of the four occasions :)

I also love the presence 'tude, too, 'cos I know one of these days my three boys won't coming running to me for advice/help, so I'd better be there for them now, right :)

BECKY said...

Great post, Johanna! I have trouble focusing, too. In fact I just wrote about it on my blog, too! I attribute a lot of our "attention disorders" (for lack of a better word at the moment!) to all the techie things that are supposed to be making our lives simpler! We can't concentrate on any one thing for very long because we just remembered that e-mail we owe, that text we need to answer, that blog, that facebook, etc.etc.! Accckkkkk! :)
PLUS, being a writer, we have even more things swirling around in our minds!! You're not alone! I don't make New Year Resolutions, but I chose a "word" for this year...in fact, it turned out being three words! Concentrate. Organize. Complete! I'm working on it right now...except I HAD to read your blog post!! **** LOL *****

Morgan said...

Unlucky 13 indeed!!!! Last year was off. Waaaay off for some reason. Already 2014 has brought renewed hope and peace. I hope it continues! :)