Opening Presence by Cylvia Hayes


Yesterday I woke up in a funk, not really sure why.  I just felt stressed and unsettled.  During meditation my monkey mind was all over the place.  Then, the morning hours that I had carved out to write and work on a couple of deadline projects got derailed and consumed by stressful, frustrating issues and tasks not of my choosing.

I became increasingly irritated, angry and cranky.  I even snapped at my beloved dog, Tessa, for something that normally made me smile in acceptance and appreciation of her dogness.  That caused me to stop and assess what was going on with me.

This past year has been one of huge, but painfully-earned growth, something of a doctoral program in learning to choose how I think and feel.  I had to learn to live while my life was seemingly blowing up.

Thousands of times I reached out and brought my cartwheeling, spring-boarding, chattering, skattering mind back to the present moment and took a big deep draw of breath and “The Now”.  In those moments I would realize/ remember that I was actually OK, that right then, I was alive, healthy, sheltered and fed.  In those moments I would remember that I loved and that I was loved.  While intensely present I could once again see the beauty all around me and I could once again appreciate the rich tapestry that is my life.

This year has given me a whole new appreciation of the well-known Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

And so, yesterday, angry and irritated, with my mind ping-ponging between hurts from the past and worries about the future, I made a choice.  I took a breath, willed the tension to flow out of my jaws and shoulders and spent a few moments considering the miracle of being alive to experience another day.  In that moment I felt like a seed cracking open and started really living again.

As far as we know for sure this is the only day we’ve got.  And the only thing we actually control is what we choose to do, how we choose to think and who we choose to be in each precious, present moment.

By Cylvia Hayes

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