My life is full. At times I admit that it is busy. I believe that life is not a rehearsal and we are allowed one shot to ‘get it right’ so I want to experience as much as I can and try not to waste it. I strive for a sense of harmony with work and play, and I am lucky that my work is mostly a great source of joy for me. I stopped thinking about “balance” as being equal distribution of time and energy, but embrace it as more of a consonance between work and play.
What I still still struggle with however is “being in the moment” and fully present with whatever I am doing. I am much better with this than I’ve been in the past, but it is definitely a work in progress. I’m sure we all do it. I find myself planning lessons in my head while taking a walk, remembering to reply to an email while working on my National Boards, checking on the progress of April the Giraffe while watching a movie with my family. To be sure these are little things and I am able to get back on task rather quickly, and in some moments I don’t really mind.
But there are some moments, new experiences or instances of awe, when it is easy to be fully present and focused and attentive. It is during these moments that I feel most connected to this life, to this time I am given. These moments can come out of the blue and if I am not mindful I might dismiss them or they can be planned and savored. I see them as opportunities to be awake and engaged and present.
I often say to myself, “This.” This is my signal to engage with what I am experiencing, to call on my senses to raise my awareness, to focus on the slice of time before me. I consider these moments of ZEN. To me, Zen involves seeing and experiencing things without the distortion created by my own thoughts. I try to let the experience wash over me and not filter it through past experience.
To be sure I do not walk through this life in a perpetual state of mindfulness. But when I get these Zen episodes I use them as a gentle reminder that each moment is really a gift if I stop to acknowledge it. What makes my life richest are often the things I forget to notice, that I take for granted.
So I am grateful for reminders. I continue to practice. I strive to be present. And I don’t criticize or chastise myself when I am not. I know that every moment offers a new opportunity to tune in and zen out. I know that “slicing” helps me with this practice. All month I am tuning in to life experiences with a heightened sense of awareness and gratitude. I am embracing random acts of Zen.
I hope that slicing helps you with this practice as well. May you all find moments of zen in your day today.