October slipped in through the back door while I was still pondering where the summer went, forget that September passed in the blink of an eye. While the autumnal equinox brought slightly cooler weather, New York City was still hot and muggy at the start of last week (I was teaching with the air conditioner on full blast). Then, literally overnight, the temperature dropped. Suddenly I was layering a sweater and a coat over my tank top, pulling out scarves from the back of the closet, and realizing that I truly should have brought my coats to the dry cleaner last week. The new season, new month, and new weather I had been longing for were dropped right into my lap and I found myself unprepared, even a little grumpy. I realized how hard it can be to stay truly present with what we have in each moment, and how challenging it can be to be grateful for what we have in each moment. How often do we say we want something and then when we get it we are less than thrilled? We fall in love with the idea of something or someone, but our fantasy is rarely what is in reality.
Karen Maezen Miller eloquently wrote in Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life: “When do we actually have the children we say we have? When are we actually in the relationships we’re in? What portion of the years, the days, the hours of our lives do we spend being the people we define ourselves to be? Fulfilling the roles that we ourselves have chosen? …. When do we simply show up? Not very often it seems to me now…”
So this month, I am going to practice showing up and being present in each moment. I am going to veer away from fantasizing about what could be or how much better things will be when x, y, and z happen every time I catch myself going to that place. I’ll try to resist the urge to linger in the past. I am going to practice simply showing up.