Tuesday, April 24, 2018

What does "here" mean to me?


Each week in my creative movement classes I share a journal prompt with the students that, if they are so inspired, they can explore during the week between classes.  I like to also take the time to explore them myself and share what I write.  This week's prompt was, "What does “here” mean to me?"

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For the past six months I’ve attended monthly weekend workshops for a year long study program in Contemplative Dance.  The retreat center where the weekends are held has a small desk that sits at the entrance to the guest rooms.  It is here that we pick up our keys when we arrive.  On this desk is a small bucket filled with colorful folded pieces of paper.  If you draw one of these out and open it, you will be given a quote or a phrase.  

Each of the six weekends I drew a slip of paper from the bucket and each time it seemed to contain words I needed to read in that moment.  This past weekend the paper I drew said, “Be where you are.” 

These words were quite appropriate as I’d spent the past week dealing with a lingering feeling of unease about my future. The worry comes because though I’m starting to get an idea of what I’d like to be doing, I don’t currently have a plan to get there.  This is an uncomfortable feeling.  

“Be where you are.”  Don’t sit in yesterday which I can’t change.  Don’t sit in tomorrow which has not yet happened.  Be where I am, right here…right now.   Doing this does not fix things.  It does not make a plan suddenly appear and all is well. In fact, it doesn’t even totally make the sense of unease go away, but it does bring me back to myself.  It does stop that worry about the future from taking up so much space in my head, in my ‘right now.’  

It isn’t easy.  To bring myself to being here I often must stop what I am doing, close my eyes, and focus on my body.  Bringing my attention to what my body is feeling in this moment keeps me present, it also often tunes me into what other things I might be feeling.  Sometimes I will find my worry is present in my hunched shoulders, or my clenched jaw.  I can relax them and feel some of my worry melt away as the muscles soften.  

There are days where I must do this multiple times.  Over and over again, to bring myself back to now; back to here. 

This is what here means to me.  To be present where I am, feeling what I am, doing whatever I’m doing in that moment.  Good or bad, up or down, lost or focused – being here means being where ever I am.

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