Being Where I Am
I heard a great comment at a meeting recently. The person sharing said, “I can choose to be where my feet are located, or not.”
I can choose to be where my feet are located. I can choose to be present where I am. I can choose to grow where I am planted.
Or I can fail to choose to be anywhere, which means I am nowhere, and my mind will drift around to whatever shiny thing seems to be attractive and interesting. A pleasant, but wasteful use of time and mental energy for sure. Almost like daydreaming, which is next, but more insidious because it is active and therefore seems useful and appropriate. But at the end of the day, if I am further ahead than at the beginning, it is only good luck.
Or dreaming and imagining. I used to mistake daydreaming for planning. I would occupy myself with fantasies of grandeur. Material possessions, fame and fortune, sexual conquests and even, I am ashamed to admit, delusions of spiritual magnificence. My lack of presence in the moment was astounding. It might look like I was present and accounted for, but if you could see inside my mind, I was a long way away.
Or thinking about what I am going to say next. That was a favourite trick. Listening would often mean to me “thinking about what I am going to say.” It might look like I am paying attention to you, but if you could look inside my head, you would find that I am busy composing what I am going to say. Oblivious to what is going on and what you are saying to me. My mind is not where my feet are planted, that is for sure.
Or living in fear and trembling in terror. I might look like I am in a state of comfort and ease, but again if you looked inside you would see a different picture. Inside I am imaging all manner of loss and shame arising from goodness knows what. Out of thin air, I can visualize and map out complete and unmitigated disasters. At least that is what it feels like.
So even when I am standing in my shoes, I am not there. I have mental choices and to be present and mindful. That is a choice. My mind will wander at the drop of a hat. But I can choose otherwise and bring myself back to the present. I can choose to be where my feet are located.
And for me, it starts in the morning in my preparation for the day. Thinking ahead. Looking at my calendar and mentally going through the meetings, phone calls and conversations that are ahead. Thinking about each one. Visualizing it and working through likely problems and benefits. Mindful of God during the process.
A recent conversation with Layne is on point. At my suggestion, he had read Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers. And he noted, “back in the old days, morning preparation for the day was regarded as more important than meetings.” I think that he is right in this. For me, the morning preparation is more important than meetings. (Interesting, when I am diligent in my morning preparation I often feel like a meeting – and when I go I am more often than not giving not getting.
This sets the day up, like a ball on a tee in golf.
Just a final point and an amusing and important wordplay. Have you noticed that if you are Now and Here then you are somewhere, and life has meaning; but if you bang those words together you are Nowhere, and life has no meaning. So mind the gap between Now and Here and in that gap, be mindful for if you lose the gap, then you are Nowhere.