Earlier this year, I began working at a hardware store. I had been off work for about 2 months and I needed to start earning some regular income. I also did not want to move across the country to continue in my previous profession. Our grandchildren are both nearby and I just built a deck on the back of the house while I was between jobs. At the store, I started in a part-time position until a full-time opportunity became available.
It was a loader. I know–it’s just what it sounds like–heavy lifting, lots of walking, and recently, sweltering heat! Believe it or not, my mid-fifties body adjusted to the lifting except that my arms still ache a lot. I told Laura that it’s okay because I’m getting buffed (also know as SWOL).
But, Some days it’s hard. I deal with customers, I get up super early in the morning, and did I mention, I totaled two cars in about a month. Actually I didn’t do it–the deer just decided to zig when it should have zagged and we had to go through all that fun stuff. It’s a long story, but the car situation actually turned out well and it’s all good thanks to one of Laura’s friends and some good insurance.
One of my friends asked me a couple of times, “So what’s the plan?” I didn’t say, “I really don’t have one,” but I did say, “This is what I’m doing right now.” The truth is I have lots of plans, I just don’t know for sure when they will happen and in what order. For example, I will have a food truck one day called “Vegan Comfort.” There was a time in my life when this uncertainty would have driven me to start kicking down doors and “making things happen,” but I’m a different person today. So, last Friday, without thinking I typed this on Facebook,
“There is a certain joy in being where you are. It’s not about location or vocation, it’s about a decision, it’s about intention. And, it has something to do with gratitude!”
Last summer, when I visited a tea shop in Taiwan, I learned about being present and I have been working at doing it better ever since. Some days I fail miserably, but Friday I felt like I was completely where I was. If that sounds a little strange, it is certainly unusual to me, but hopefully becoming more of how I do business.
Being where we are is not about location or vocation. I remember vacations that I essentially ruined by not being where I was. I loved the carefully planned agenda, but I don’t think the family did. I was either planning the next hour or rehashing how horrible the last part of the trip was. It’s probably why we didn’t take too many family vacations. When I wasn’t lost in the near future or the recent past, I was a million miles away solving a problem at work or worrying about going home. Recently, I sat on my newly constructed deck, and for the first time since we have lived here just appreciated the beauty of my back yard. It isn’t really that my back yard is stunning – I should send you a picture of the garden that I haven’t even touched this year. The reason I enjoyed my back yard was because I was fully there!
I am like most of you–some days I do well, some days I fail miserably, and often it’s somewhere in the middle. The keys seem to be when I am able to make the decision and keep my intention of being where I am. Whether I am loading lumber at my job or having dinner with my wife, I long to be present like I was last Friday. When we become fully present, it is almost impossible to feel anxiety! At least that is my experience.
Today, we had some new challenges at work, so I didn’t do as well. I am determined to keep learning by living better!
I just caught a glimpse of my dog, Winston. If it wasn’t for thunderstorms, I don’t think he would ever have anxiety. I can’t see inside his little brain, but what I gather from his actions is that he is usually present. Right now, he is sitting at the window looking for the squirrel that happens by occasionally or a passerby that he can bark at. I may be wrong, but he’s not regretting the past or dreading the future — he’s full present and being who he was designed to be.
As I said last Friday, I also think being where we are has to do with gratitude. The only thing I want to say is that gratitude is the gateway to so many good things, I’m surprised how little we express it.
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