This past summer my great niece, Isabelle, played the lead role in Oliver! in community theater. The show ran for three nights, and for each performance, various members of Isabelle’s extended family were there to see her sing and act her way into the audience’s hearts.
On the last night of the performance, I sat next to Isabelle’s great grandmother, Kay. Kay had traveled from North Dakota, in the midst of the wheat harvest, to see Isabelle’s performance. She leaned over to me and mentioned how nice it was that all of Isabelle’s great aunts and uncles had come to see the musical. I responded, “Like you, we always show up for the big things in life.”
Later this fall I was meeting with a colleague and we were talking about how gorgeous this fall was, and he mentioned that he was working on being “fully present” in those beautiful autumn moments. When you are fully present in the moment, it means not being distracted by the day-to-day concerns and the tomorrow what-ifs that often seize hold of your time—and your mind.
I love the idea of being fully present, in each and every moment. And, I find that I fail at doing that. In fact, I fail miserably. Perhaps, though, I have been a bit too hard on myself? Sometimes I need to be about the everyday stuff that just has to get done. I’m washing dishes and thinking about the groceries I need to get or the agenda for an upcoming meeting. I take a walk and, instead of seeing what’s going on in nature around me, I think about getting back to my office to figure out an expense report or doing background research for a new workshop. All those things need to get done—and are important, too.
Maybe the answer is in making sure you showing up for the big things. Like Isabelle’s play or sharing a glass of wine with a good friend. Maybe it’s enjoying a beautiful snowfall when I’m very cozy in front of my fireplace. Or meeting with a client or facilitating a retreat.
It’s okay to not be present in every moment of every day. Just don’t miss the big things—whatever those things are for you.