be present

Do you struggle to be present?

Yesterday was a pretty warm fall day here in Nashville, it reached up to somewhere around 83 degrees, so we decided to take a hike in a nearby park as a family.

I love to get out into a quiet natural space as often as possible; woods, beaches, wherever it’s silent and untouched. My thoughts and my heart both slow down and I can physically feel myself releasing tension I didn’t know I was carrying. I savor moments or days like this, and I try to connect in this way whenever I get a chance.

I couldn’t help but notice the number of folks barreling through the trails like they were on a mission of some sort. Like there was a destination to be reached, and it would be best to get there as quickly as possible. I absolutely hate clichés; but the journey really is the destination. Every time someone races by me on a trail, or a walk along the water, I think, “you’re passing up the very thing you’re out here to find.”

I see so many folks doing this in other ways as well. I love the younger generation and have nothing against them (I’m raising one of them), but I see so many teens and young adults spend countless hours taking pictures of themselves and each other at different events, or on different occasions, instead of really being at that event that it breaks my heart a little (I’m aware of how old that makes me sound). I love taking photos of the places I’ve been and good times that I’ve had in an effort to preserve a few memories, but not at the expense of missing out on the experience all together.

My husband and I were on a flight earlier this year, where three young ladies took selfies the entire flight from Charlotte to Cancun. The.Entire.Flight. The narcissism of that can be addressed another day, but what I felt badly about for them was that they were missing out on the camaraderie of being with one another, having a great time, connecting on a girls’ trip, having a few laughs, being excited about the fun they were going to have on vacation, maybe sharing a cocktail before we landed. Instead they sat silently for a couple of hours perfecting their images on smart phones.

It leads me to ask about the “why” behind this. Are people hiding behind a manufactured life they are creating, to the point that they are forgetting how to live an authentic life that isn’t validated or “liked” by anyone? Are they afraid of finding out what they really think and feel, or who they really are, if they let themselves feel silence for too long? Or do they not know who they are at all, and so filling up their lives with constant noise and peer approval gives them a false sense of being “someone”?

What about you? What is your take on these questions? Do you give yourself a “time out” in nature to reconnect to yourself? Do you struggle to be present/in the moment? Let me know on this page, or message me on twitter at @jessbarretttn.

Leave a Reply