An Experiment in Being Fully Present

As a creative, I’m not the most organized soul in the bunch. I wouldn’t describe myself as messy, though in moments of chaos, that label could effectively apply. Lately, though, I’ve felt an intense desire to clean, purge, declutter, and downsize the “stuff” of my life, but procrastination and a lack of energy keeps me in the ‘wanting’ not ‘doing’ stage.

I partly blame this on the sun in Cancer, which makes me overly emotional, and family that came to visit over the weekend. Mind you, I’m smack in the middle of a complete overhaul of my home office to be a more beautiful space, which forces all that “stuff” into my master bedroom and tiny spare room while paint dries and wallpaper sets, so the stress level of all that “stuff” had me on overload. But yesterday’s lunch with the parents and the kids was a successful one, fortunately, so I could function again as myself in my own space this morning.

As a result of their visit, my living room was completely cleaned and showroom ready. I have to be honest, it was such a refreshing sight to wake up to that it triggered me to the resolve of going to bed tonight with it in the same condition.

You might think..Beth, you’re one person living by yourself…how hard can it be?…and you’re correct. But my writing and creative self is a note-spreader and a book stacker. I hate to move these things when I’m in creative mode because my brain knows where to find things easily, which helps lower the procrastination factor. Also, I tend to have the belief that my yoga mat, blocks, and meditation cushion are aesthetic elements in my decor, and as such, should remain out for everyone to appreciate (except when people come to visit).

After writing my morning pages in the corner of my sofa, I was tempted to leave my pen and notebook there for tomorrow. No one is coming to visit…but would it hurt me to take the seven seconds to put them away and keep to my resolve? (Spoiler alert: it didn’t). Same thing with the meditation cushion, journal, and pen after my 30 minutes on the cushion. It’s funny, but as I tidied that space by simply moving the cushion back to my fireplace hearth, it was as though my meditation time had come to a close, a boundary of sorts, and gave me a special kind of permission to carry on with my day. It made me realize that I carry projects with me. I wouldn’t say that it’s a problem, but it can eat at my mental RAM during the day when I’m not as focused on a task at hand as I should be.

The big moment came after finishing my morning Zoom yoga flow class, and I really felt no reason to roll up the mat. It doesn’t take up space and bother me, but I realized that my mat is out ALL THE TIME and I don’t normally feel compelled to practice when it is…but in rolling it up and tucking it into the corner, I feel excited to unroll it again tomorrow for practice.

It gave me a moment of pause to think that even though I do these things as part of my morning ritual, my way of coming into myself to face the day, I’m not fully present in those spaces all the time. Leaving something to do later, or because ‘no one else will see it’ is leaving a sort of energetic open-end, and that tends to tangle the energy (and aesthetics). Taking a moment to be present as we end a situation or moment has a different feel, a solid energy.

I liked it. So I decided to carry the idea of full presence with me for the rest of the day. Doing my laundry, making dinner, beginning the wallpaper portion of my writing office space. I started each and saw them to full completion. I made an important phone call that I have been putting off for a week, and closed down that energetic loop so my mind doesn’t have to worry about it anymore.

It’s oddly freeing. Not that I felt trapped by the open-ended energy before, but I feel a sense of completion that makes me curious toward approaching other tasks that I tend to put off. What if I can see weeding the flower bed (a never ending task) or purging the furniture from my basement (an exhausting proposition) can have the same effect? We’ll try later this week and see. The nice thing is that I’m going to bed with my living room as clean as it was last night…and wasn’t that what I set out to do?

Do you practice being fully present? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.