Finding peace in the present: a daily practice

It seems every year, I wake up one morning totally surprised by Spring. It’s a feeling as if all the colors — the flowers, trees and birds — came to life overnight.

In reality, it’s a slow unfolding.

I promised myself that this year I would be more present for the process of Spring, because she’s just so beautiful and glorious! And because I don’t want to look back six months from now and wonder how it all came and went so fast.

I don’t want to miss out on the little big moments for my loved ones and my community. And I don’t want to look back at my own life and wonder how I got to where I am. I want to be present in that process rather than trapped away in the often maddening unreality of my mind.

The best way to do that, at least that I’ve found, is to slow down. To be present with my breath, a doorway to the Becoming: of myself, of the people, community and natural world around me.

Addicted to Thinking

Our society is caught in a game of analysis. We make predictions and review results, again and again. Our minds are in a constant calculation, weighing options in hopes of securing a sure thing.

As we obsess over making the right choice, life begins to pass us by. The only thing that is certain is this breath — this moment. Yet we will rob ourselves of the beauty and meaning of now as we cling on to what was and hinge our happiness on what might be.

Cutting through the Chaos

The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu, who founded the philosophical foundation of Taoism, wrote:

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the presence.”

Taoism grew from observing the natural world. Embracing a true “go with the flow” mentality, Taoists seek to align their way of living with the energy that flows through all things that bind and release us — a connecting universe flow toward balance.

Flowing with Nature

We walk on one of the most potent and giving teachers: Mother Earth. She grows and gives us our food; she cleans up our air; she delights us with beauty as she moves in one direction: toward balance.

While our minds often over complicate matters, Nature has a way of embracing the simple, elegant solutions. Turning inward during the dark of a New Moon. Shifting into action during Spring. All we have to do is open our eyes, clear our minds of self-inflicted suffering and breathe it all in.

When my mind gets the best of me, and I lose site on the life unfolding right in front of me, I turn to meditation. I drop what I’m doing and I sit down — inside, outside, in the car, wherever. I take a deep breath, and, often, I use a mantra to settle myself into the luxurious presence of Now.

Monthly Mantra

I am.  

(No joke! It’s that simple.)

If that’s not effective in the moment, I dig a little deeper. And below the surface, I usually notice that I’m putting incredibly lofty expectations on myself — either beating myself up over the past or worrying that I’m not doing enough to succeed in the future. Then, I return to this:

April Affirmation

I am enough, I have enough, and I am doing enough. I joyfully accept myself and my life right now.

I hope you get to spend some quality time in nature this Spring. Take your nature walk to the next level by joining a Taproot Retreats Yoga Hike April 6, May 19 or June 8. Simple, sweet, easy. See you outside!



Lindsay Michel