There are things in our lives that become lost to us for a little while. Life becomes busy. We prioritize differently. We lose a piece of ourselves and forget it ever once existed. For me, these things were: living curiously, getting lost in a book, taking a break. For a long time, I liked the idea of being out in nature. I liked the idea of getting lost in a book. I liked the idea of simply sitting with a thought. But the acts themselves felt unproductive.
“I should be doing more,” I would say to myself. “This just isn’t getting me anywhere.”
To which I ask that person now, “But where is it that you want to go?”
I became impatient. I believed I didn’t have the time. I had other things I needed to do so I could do what I actually wanted to do. So I could finally relax. You know the story. I rushed through the necessities – from one room to the next, checking things off my list. Because my list was compiled of all-important tasks were just that – important. Vital. They MUST BE DONE. But I was missing it entirely.
As I began to focus more on gratitude and positive mindsets, affirmations and healthy habits, I started to pick up on Aric’s habits. It wasn’t right away. In fact, it was a slow process. But slowly, I became less and less irritated by his priority of leisure activities. Don’t get me wrong – he’s a hard worker. But when his work is done, he kicks back and nourishes his soul, whether it is with a geographically rich novel, his bird call app and a pair of binoculars out the back window, or a frozen pizza. Okay, that last one is nourishing to absolutely nothing, but it’s one of his “treats” he loves to treat himself with on occasion. There could be worse things, really.
Whether he knew he was doing it or not, he taught me to appreciate the breaks – and to intentionally carve them out – with or without a completed to-do list.
He taught me to notice nature again. Not just out on hikes or when we’re on vacation, but in the day-to-day. I started walking to and from work and I take this time as a walking meditation. I notice things that I wouldn’t have noticed if I were caught up in unrelated thought or technology. A squirrel with a donut, giant terrifying-looking flying ants (??), the beautiful tree-lined street I walk up and down on my way to and from. I don’t worry about getting home as quickly as possible so I can “enjoy” my lunch break. The enjoyment includes getting there.
He taught me that I still love reading and to read a little bit each day. In fact, it’s now part of my nightly routine before shutting out the lights. And sometimes at 3:00 on a Sunday and 5:30 on a Wednesday and 9:00 on a Saturday morning.
He’s taught me how to be present again.
“But where is it that you want to go?”
I know now that without a need to rush, my answer is, “Right here.”