I admire people who are naturally so engrossed in the moment that they have witty conversations and seem at peace with the future. That is not me. I have so much trouble being present that it requires a lot of work to stay in the moment. My latest technique has been counting. Each time I notice myself off in la-la land I bring myself back by counting. You wouldn’t believe how I often I find myself counting these days. If anything, this practice has taught me that I am not present most of the time. Yikes! Soon you will see the tie between this lack of presence and our weekend adventure.
First, where did we go? Tucker Lake is where we went. It is a 1.4 miles lake walk in a nice Jefferson County neighborhood. The trail is a combination of pavement and gravel. It circles a nice pond and has amazing views of the front range. AJ brought his Lightening McQueen (LM) car along (a first!). The LM was actually a gift for his brother, but MJ is just 13 months, so he’s not too concerned about what belongs to whom. He’s in that sweetie pie phase of being too curious to commit to one toy for more then a few minutes.
The day brought an assortment of weather. During our hike we were nearly blown away by the wind, but once we got home it was warm enough to eat dinner outside. Colorado weather is moody! Weather aside we moved along at a snails pace as MJ wanted to push his stroller (also a first for us to bring a stroller on a hike and for MJ to be walking). He walked nearly one mile! AJ rode on LM and experienced a kind of freedom that was new and exciting. With newness comes uncharted territory, so riding LM down a hill was a learning experience.
I didn’t realize that my mind had drifted off to a land far, far away until AJ and his car cut in front of me on two wheels. I ran after him, but could not prevent the inevitable crash. AJ fell of off LM and slid a few inches. He had bumps and bruises above and below his left eye and some open gashes on his hand. He handled himself quite well though. We, of course, did not have a first aid kit to disinfect and bandage his wounds. We did however have humor and grace as we shook the incident off.
What I realized in that moment is that my mind was totally gone in the moments prior to the crash that I didn’t have the foresight to prevent the crash. I’m not trying to blame myself for the accident, after all they happen. What I am brining awareness to are the missed moments caused by distraction, worry, etc. It pains me to think of what else I have missed in my life because I was too busy planning for the future. By this time I had counting fatigue and so my practice was on hiatus. I’ve tried to bring it back a few times, but the struggle is real! Regardless, I remain committed to grounding myself in the moment. There will be a day when spending time in the present wont require me to count. I can’t wait to experience what that feels like.
Back to the hike – AJ rode LM for a while longer before the wind got to be too much and he hopped in the stroller while Joe carried MJ. Wind is a ferocious force of nature that can really zap your spirit unless you learn to walk with it. That’s exactly what the last leg of our hike was about…in silence we walked into the wind, not resisting it, but partnering with it to get to our warm, comfortable car. Wind is one of natures elements that I do my best to avoid, but that somehow always makes an appearance. Thus the importance of partnering with the wind as it is much better on the psyche to go with the wind then struggle against it.