Last weekend, I attended Wanderlust. I encourage anyone and everyone to catch this event when it comes through your area. It’s the world’s only “mindful triathlon.” It’s a 5k (no worries… you can walk it), followed by 75 minutes of yoga, followed by 30 minutes of mindful meditation.
I’ve done plenty of yoga on my own, as well as meditation, and I’ve done both in groups. This is the first time I’ve done either while surrounded by 1000+ people. The energy was palpable. Positive. Simply beautiful.
But I’m not here to sell the event… I’m here to tell you how it set me back on a path that I’d lost.
Before the 5k, as everyone was checking in and we were all finding our places and setting our yoga mats out on the grass, one of the event organizers got up on the stage and she said (paraphrased):
“I’ve met so many beautiful people today, and everyone is so excited to be here. I keep hearing over and over again, ‘I can’t wait to get going!’ Everyone is saying that. Everyone. And that’s great! I love the enthusiasm I’m feeling from everyone. But I want you to think about something….. we’re already here. This is it. This. Right here. You’re already here, and you’re already doing it! Sink into this moment, because this is what you’ve been waiting for.”
I’ve practiced mindful meditation off and on for… damn… 20+ years. One of the most basic forms of meditative practice is to focus on the breath. In… out… in… out… and when you find your mind wandering, you peacefully let go of whatever thought caught your attention and carried you away, and you return your focus to your breath.
Well, like most things in life, it’s analogous at scale. My life has become the thought that has carried me away from my mindfulness. My experience at Wanderlust was the peaceful redirection back to my breath… my path… my focus.
I was reminded that mindfulness isn’t sitting in a quiet room surrounded by candles and burning sage, ohm-ing ourselves into blissful awareness. Honestly, who has time for that? And even if we do find the time, the kids and cats are a forced to be reckoned with… they can and will interrupt such practice.
No, mindfulness is not that. Mindfulness is your moment. This moment. Yes… this one right here. Whatever you’re doing… right now. It’s doing this, and only this, with intention. It’s bringing ourselves back to the moment, gently and without force or frustration, when we wander.
Why do we reach for our phones at a red light?
Why do we hurry ourselves from the building to the car?
Why do we get angry in traffic?
Why do we regret what we didn’t do at the end of the day?
It’s because we’re always looking ahead… what’s next? What now? What else?
This morning, in traffic (which typically turns me into a raving psychopath, just for the record)… we came to a stop. I looked up… and out… and around. The desert got a refreshing drink of rain overnight, and the wet clouds hung in the cool morning air. The land was damp and as green as Phoenix gets. We sat still on the freeway, and I thought, “wow… stillness can be found even in the places where we’re expected to move at our fastest pace.”
And I cried.
And I whispered, “It’s so beautiful.”
Because it was.
Had we not stopped on the freeway right then… had I not stopped my inner chatter and disapproval long enough to look around… I would have missed that amazing, beautiful moment.
So I invite you to stop. Come into the moment. Not my moment… your moment… (Get outta my moment!)
Don’t close your eyes, but rather look around. SEE the life that you have around you. Sink in and be right where you are. Because my friends, this is it. Sink into this moment, because this is what you’ve been waiting for.