How November Reminds Me To Be Here Now

how-november-reminds-me-to-be-here-now

By Kate

I love the month of November and the holiday of Thanksgiving which marks it, partially for the delicious food of course, but even more so, for the gratitude it evokes. And that’s saying a lot, because I love delicious food.

The reason I look forward to and welcome the 11th month with such open arms is that it has a bit of a reset and recharge feel to it. The same way that January represents a fresh, new start, November offers a similar, or perhaps even greater prompt: it reminds me to look up and take in all the goodness in my life as it is right now.

Often times, I become so distracted by the detailed doings of my day to day or focused on my big 5-year-plan future, that I forget to see and appreciate what’s happening right in front of me. My chores, stressors, and tasks pile up, and my feelings of gratitude in the moment are regularly the first to go. It’s not a deliberate choice I make, but rather, a seeming and thoughtless necessity. Something’s gotta give in this headspace of mine and since it can’t be all the things I need to accomplish, mindfulness and even thankfulness, are set aside to share the backseat.

And then this month of Thanksgiving arrives and I am brought back to the beauty of how it feels to create an attitude of appreciation by recommitting to living in the moment. In November, particularly, I’m gently reminded of one of my favorite quotes that my friend and yoga teacher recited in my very early days of attending class.

We started the practice in Child’s Pose and I was instantly filled and consumed by insecurity and doubt. I was self-conscious about how much I was already sweating in the heated room, worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the quick vinyasa flow, and wondering how my mom had convinced me to join her. I heard the powerful breathing by students all around me as the instructor encouraged us to lengthen our inhales and exhales. And meanwhile, I launched into a mental pep talk to myself. Anything for an hour, I thought. You can do this.

Just then, my instructor interrupted my inner dialogue by reading the words by James Baraz aloud:

“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”

At this point, I glanced up from my mat, assuming the instructor would be staring directly at me, the way that schoolteachers often do when they’re speaking to the class, but intending the message for one student in particular. I felt caught, like she could somehow read my distracted mind. Rest assured, my anxieties were quickly put to ease as I realized her eye contact was elsewhere and the relevance of the words was simply by chance.

Regardless of the overall intention of the passage, it changed my entire perspective for the practice that day. Each time I felt my mind wander and my physical insecurities heighten, I came back to its message. Since I hadn’t yet memorized the quote in its entirety, I chiseled its meaning down to 3 simple words: be here now.

Breathe now. Notice now. Feel now. Experience now. Be thankful for now.

The quote brought me to the present moment. It still does. After telling my friend how much the words resonated with me, she printed and framed them as a gift. They sit atop my dresser and to this day, often catch me living in a different land.

They are my steady reminder that a commitment to mindfulness provides access to thanksgiving within my life.

In order to appreciate a moment, I must first acknowledge it.

To be thankful for my relationships, I must first take note of them.

And to be grateful for today, I must first become aware of it happening right now.

{featured image via unsplash}

5 thoughts on “How November Reminds Me To Be Here Now

  1. jayesschristine says:

    Such a great post! I can relate in so many ways. November is definitely a month to be reminded of how blessed we truly are. I am a big advocate for living in the moment, but sometimes the moment sweeps us away and gets bogged down with lists. Very refreshing to read!

    Like

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