by Alexandra Leikermoser
We all breathe, right? Well, that’s the best tool to help take you into the present moment, says another first time contributor, Alexandra Leikermoser, an eco designer and Yoga teacher from Toronto. And it helps to think outside of the box, a suggestion that Leikermoser adopts in the middle of her column when she launches into a free-flowing writing exercise. Don’t try it at home, she cautions, but maybe you will, or should.
Hurry, hurry don’t be late. Go here, do this. Go there, do that. Don’t forget this and don’t forget that. Did you remember to do what you were supposed to do, or did that errand slip by you? Does any of this ring bells of familiarity? Often our days are crammed with so many things to do and so many places to go and a host of people to see, that it seems like it might be easy to forget to breathe. Here’s a few ideas to consider that can help slow the pace and help us touch base:
• Savor the moment.
Ahhhh. . . being in the moment. It is so easy to forget, yet it is most important and it is really what makes up the fabric of our lives. A moment in time. Momentary. A piece of time. Do we know exactly what a moment is? Can it truly be defined? I can share my personal definition.
For me a moment is synonymous with breath and breathing. It is being present enough to enjoy what is hap- pening in the moment – the now. I can try to let go and not worry about doing things like trying to capture it on camera or in writing. I can release the need to feel like I must go somewhere or accomplish some task. I can just enjoy “be- ing” to the point where I am in a complete state of “allow- ing.”
For me, these moments come more easily when I am out in nature connecting with it on a personal level. When I walk on the beach, I can feel each tiny grain of sand be- tween my toes. I feel the sensation of the wind’s soft touch, gently caressing my cheek.
These moments also come when I am in a balancing yoga pose that requires me to breathe deeply and be really present, or else risk falling over. Capturing and enjoying a present moment isn’t so easy when you find yourself in a pressure-and-stress filled situation, like being caught in a jam of city traffic. Those are the moments where the good habits I formed in meditation and yoga practice come in very handy. There is one central key that is very helpful:
• This is where we call on the breath.
• The breath is the key to the moment. • We cannot breathe in the past.
• We cannot breathe in the future.
Think Outside the Box
The breath is an excellent tool to take us into the present. The breath helps us to move more mindfully and slowly. Fast is an illusion. Slow isn’t so bad. It may seem surprising
but when we move slowly we are able to get more done. Everyone knows Aesop’s Fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare.” Slow and steady wins the race. Be a turtle and try it some- time; observe the outcome.
If the present is truly all there really is, why are we so caught up in what could be or what could have been? Per- haps the element missing in our lives is the ability to be free-flowing human beings. Maybe we are too uptight and spend too much time confined by the “box” of our habits.
It’s complicated, made more so by deadlines, appoint- ments and, well, this, that and the other. I am being fully in the moment as I write this piece. But what about taking this task “out of the box” to a free flowing, freeform writing exer- cise? What happens?
Please do not try this at home unless you are prepared
to be in the moment! Here goes: The truth is all there is. The moment is all there is. Discover the power of being present. Being in the now. Listening. Being. Breathing. Feeling. Ahhhhh. Letting go. Breath. Listen. Honor your place. Let- ting be. Tuning into our intuition. Playing. Seeing with fresh eyes. Gratitude. Grace. No goals. No desires. Contentment. Surrender. Freedom to be. Singing. Dancing. Playing. Now I am in the moment. . . with very short sentences!
The truth is that there are so many ways to just “be.” But often we are stuck in the only way we know. Part of the beauty of our journey is experimenting and finding new modes for self-expression that give us new or expanded abilities to be who we are, while staying present and fully awake, aware and in the moment.
We really can’t live in the past or the future. We can only live in the moment. Today as you walk in you present moments, don’t draw from the past or project to the future; do your best to stay in each of those moments. Allow your- self to experience a kind of temporary amnesia and watch your day shift. I leave you with one last thought to gnaw on: if the answer is being in the moment, then what is the ques- tion? Hmmmm... Thank you for your precious time! Thank you for sharing this moment with my words.
Alexandra Leikermoser, an eco designer and Yoga in- structor, also produces inspirational writing, clothing and accessories, aimed at promoting a serious “practice” while keeping the ability to laugh at one’s self. When she is not facilitating creative goddess retreats and workshops, you can find her playing on the beach, drumming and singing to the waves.
Excerpted from The Journeymag.com November December 2008