Cultivating awareness.

At the beginning of a drive I’m usually pretty focused. I make sure I’m in the right gear, my lights are on, my windshield-wipers are going a correct speed, and I’m staying within the lines. Some time passes. Suddenly I realize, “Oh man, I’m driving”. While that has been the case (hopefully) the entire time, my mind was busy dreaming up possibilities, praying, or working out the future.

The same thing happens with life. There are times when I’m very engaged in what I’m doing. Listening to the person talking. Reading the recipe. Fingering the chord. Taking in the beauty around me. Savoring tea. Some time passes. And suddenly I realize, “Oh man, I’m living”.

I’m studying the Enneagram in one of my classes this semester. Boiled down, it is a tool for discovery, naming fears and desires, recognizing rhythms and coping methods, and moving towards wholeness. Tonight I read about “becoming aware”. Lately I’ve been making an effort to be present, and focus on whatever I’m currently doing.

I fail. Miserably. Most of the time. My thoughts are always racing to the next thing.

What would it look like to be aware of living? Feeling? Breathing? Something my book said was to try recognizing feelings in the moment, and becoming aware of how they’re affecting you. What is your body doing? What does anger feel like? Instead of judging yourself for being angry, just recognize that you are angry.

That’s not easy. I don’t like being angry. Or frustrated. Or sad. So when I feel those emotions, and catch myself in them, I want to chastise and criticize myself for feeling them in the first place. That is my tendency. Perhaps yours is different.

But I want to work through the hard stuff of feeling, focusing, and cultivating awareness. I don’t want to get distracted from living. In the moment. Present. Aware. I don’t want to be shocked back with the realization, “Oh man, I’m living”.

I want to live.

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