“Your true home is in the here and the now.” – Thich Naht Hanh
I only needed to get two things from the store – flowers (I get fresh flowers every week for my office) and bananas. I love flower day shopping because it’s such a great treat going home with fresh blooms to brighten up the space where I spend most of my time. Having my flowers and bananas in hand, I walked out of the store and into the nearby Starbucks for a latte to go.
Starbucks is neither delicious or terrible but they have absolutely one thing for certain – it doesn’t matter what Starbucks I walk into, I know the experience and the taste of my order will be exactly the same. I love the consistency of knowing I’ll like what I order – when I’m being deliberate that is. Since Rustica is a bit farther than I typically choose to walk for my latte, Starbucks will do. With latte in hand, I walked out of the door . . . and then, OHMYGOODNESS.
As if in a trance, I walked the few feet that separated the doors and putting my hand on the door, my eyes forward and center, I began to open the door. Just as I took a quick whiff, I snapped back to present and let go of the door as if it were hot coals and turned and walked away.
Walking away I shook my head and asked myself “What the hell just happened?” I had ZERO desire for a cinnamon roll and yet in a split second from walking out of Starbucks and peering to the bakery next door, I saw the fresh rolls dripping frosting on the top shelf and I immediately was headed inside. I hadn’t given any concern or consideration or the tiniest of thoughts to what I was doing. I’m grateful that I quickly snapped out of my cinnamon roll goodness trance and came back to the moment.
Clearly, in that moment of walking out and seeing the rolls on the shelf and instantly grabbing the door, I lost myself and let go of presence. If you’re like me I bet you can relate to the time when you get up, walk into the kitchen, peruse the cupboards and refrigerator and then before you know it, you’ve finished off the bag of chips, or the cookies you were saving, or the (fill in the blank).
After having this very real moment of realization, I’ve been paying attention to my actions to see how present and aware I really am. I thought that since I talk about this and I teach it, I must be pretty good, right?!?! Wrong. I’m not. Only a day after cinnamon roll trance I was picking up some groceries and I walked right over to the ice cream aisle and picked out a carton and put it in my basket. Yep, just like that. And I NEVER (ok RARELY) buy ice cream! What in the world is going on!?
I can’t answer that but what I can say is this…distractions and diversions are cleverly placed happenings in our life to get us aware of something bigger going on. For me, it’s clearly about sugar, as it often is. And I know that it really isn’t about sugar – it’s about stress, sleep, and dehydration. Whenever I’m craving something it usually turns back to a bigger question – “What is it I REALLY need right now?” And when I allow myself to ask question AND answer the question, I always know it’s so much bigger.
The next time you find your fist in the bottom of a bag of chips, or better yet – BEFORE you get to the bottom of a bag of chips – ask yourself the same question – “What is it I REALLY need right now?” And then allow the answer to come forward. It really is true that when we listen to our bodies, we can also heal our bodies. Are you really listening, though? For me, it’s been another much needed clear lesson in presence and awareness. I’m not always going to get it right but the moment I remember is the moment I can make a change and every single change adds up and is important.
And always, when you notice a shift, honor yourself. Give thanks and be grateful for the beautiful awareness as it unfolds around you. It isn’t about perfection, it’s about progress.
Make a Difference . . . Lead with Love