The Guide to Getting Out (and Being Present!)
Updated: Mar 2, 2023
It’s been a little bit since my last personal blog post; partly because life has been so busy and my mind is consumed with just about everything, but this blog. But, I tell myself that I always feel my best when I am writing, so it is important I take the time and find the space to write. A few weekends ago, I had the opportunity to go on a short trip with a friend and her mom to Saluda, North Carolina to have a quiet weekend to rest, reflect and rejuvenate. A huge shout out to the Orchard Inn in Saluda. They provided just the space anyone would want to enjoy, rest and view the landscape of the mountains against the beautiful blue sky. Somehow being in nature brings out the best in all of us.
On this trip I encountered one of those “ah ha” moments. I realized that I have been so busy with the business of my first year of college and what I “needed” to be doing that I didn’t really live or be in the present of what I was experiencing. Let me explain…. I thought about some of my middle and high school experiences. Many times I just went to things because my mom made me or it was what was expected. I remember having to go to bible study or youth group, let’s face it I did it because it was the right thing to do. But, now as I reflect on that time I realize some of the truths that I was being taught apply to my life today. There was a constant message that I now can remember, living the present means to live in the presence of others. The verse James 4:8 speaks directly about being present through prayer, meditation and reflection. By seeking out those quiet moments we open ourselves up to a deeper relationship and feeling of comfort. I give this scripture because I realize that I am not always in the present moment.
Not living in the present can often lead to unfulfilling relationships, depression, and overall lack of contentment with yourself. If you remember in my last post, I am a BIG OVER THINKER! I think this is something many girls encounter. I constantly worry about the past and even the future. I ask myself, “What if this or that had happened?” Living in the present means letting go of the past, and not worrying so much about the future. Yes, this is the opposite of me.
When our thoughts are so attached to things that are not right in front of us, it subconsciously takes the present moment away. I always try to practice what it's like to fully live in the moment, but it's a lot harder than I expected. I want to try and just put my phone away for 30 minutes and talk to my friends, but the whole conversation with my friends, I may be thinking of what it is I might be missing. Being a freshman, I have had the great opportunity of meeting and developing many new friendships. It is important to get to know people, hear and watch what makes them happy or even sad. I have learned that I have to get to know people so I can encourage and provide comfort for them, just as they do for me.
Getting back to my weekend away. I got to experience feeling present in the moment. I had no plans or obligations. We took the day as it unfolded in front of us. My focus was on enjoying the vintage shops, the walks, and just sitting and talking to a friend and her mom that were totally present with me. I lived in the moment of the day and what grew from that was contentment, joy, intentional conversations, and quite a bit of laughing.
While this might sound cheesy, I am continuing to remind myself that I need to soak in as much of today as possible - no matter how hard that might be. That even means that when the bad things of the day come, I let them happen, and when the happies of the day takes over, I make sure I celebrate. Focusing on one thing at a time is so important whether that be lunch with a friend, reading a book, talking to your mom on the phone, or even scrolling through your camera roll looking at pictures of you and your friends tan in the summer. This semester, I am working towards taking more time out of my day to pause and look around and be present with friends, people in my classes, on the phone with my family and with the times by myself. I encourage you… live in the present. Take the time to be intentional and by doing that you are not only encouraging yourself, but someone else.
Until next time… Keep redecorating… on the inside and out… Nancy Anne