Being Present

Last night I was at a Middle School music concert with choir and jazz and concert bands. I loved it. There were a couple of painful moments…like when the 7th grade soloist’s voice broke, when the 8th grade back up singers started in on the wrong part…but this is the whole point…..kids learning performance. It’s not perfect the first time. My heart soared when they got it right and sunk when they did not do as well as they expected…and you could read it on their inexperienced faces.

What surprised me (though it probably should not have) was how many of the audience were not really present. There was the dad to my front and left who worked a crossword puzzle the entire time we were there. There was the teenage brother, so cool, with his ear buds, enjoying a different music. There were several parents/grandparents so busy with the video/photo shoot that they could not possible have noticed the actual performance. But maybe they will enjoy the recording of it just as much as the real thing.

I have stopped carrying a book to read “in line” or at the auto dealership. I have stopped trying to mentally transport myself to another place when I find myself in unpleasant circumstances (some would count a beginning band concert here.) I am beginning to learn to just be in the place and time that I find myself. It is not always “fun,” but it is always interesting, and I learn so much it is worth the inconvenience.

How about you? What is a hard circumstance for you to just be present? I confess, social chit-chat with the kid’s dad after the performance was hard. Darn it. Still.

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3 responses to “Being Present

  1. Great post! What if being present was all that truly mattered?
    I am struggling with presence when my sister tells me all the details of her social life (what was on the buffet, what the guests wore etc…)
    On another note, I noticed something funny (or is it sad?) last summer. I was 9 months pregnant riding the bus everyday in the heat and people were often very kind offering me a seat. However, lots of times nobody ever noticed me during the entire ride because everybody was busy watching movies or reading emails on their smartphone….so I had to stand.

    • Well, I am convinced that being present is all that matters in the sense that all of life is happening now. Whatever love we want to express, whatever change we make in the world….it only happens now.
      It’s OK to plan for the future (i.e. save money, etc) as long as we keep in awareness the future may be different than we imagine it to be.
      It’s OK to sit with loved ones and remember past happy times. But most of us use the past to mentally beat ourselves or someone else up. Better to be in the present.

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