After I had my first child, I started reading books about being present and awakening. One of my goals became to fully live in the present. Not worry about the future or dwell on the past, and to try to let go of things I had no control over. Me wanting to be present with my kids was a big reason why I wanted to retire. In order to try to be more present I tried quite a few things that did help momentarily. Each little change I made brought me closer to full time presence. I tried to not be on my phone (or any electronics) when I was playing with the kids. I started writing down things I needed to add to my to-do list so I didn’t have to think about it constantly to not forget it. I added dates to my to-do list so I didn’t get overwhelmed with the amount of items to do and also tried to limit to only a few designated items per day. All these changes made me a bit more present, but there was still always something else pulling me out of the present moment. I kept telling myself, I’ll just finish these projects and then I’ll be able to be fully present, or I’ll just finish these items on my to-do list and then I'll be fully present. But more projects kept coming, and more things were added to my to-do list. I also didn’t know my boundaries so I always took on more than I could handle because I didn’t know how to say no.
Before we left for this adventure, I made sure to finish every project and clear every item on my to-do list to make sure I’d have nothing pulling me out of the present moment. And I have finally succeeded in just being, just living fully in the present! Sure I’d have many moments before where I was present, but there was always a little something that I felt I should be doing. And that distracted me from the present moment.
Now, in these last few weeks, I’ve had nothing to do other than enjoy the beautiful scenery around me, feel the wind, hear my kids playing and just be. It’s really been a blessing and I’ve never been happier. I’m not constantly trying to multitask so I’m always giving everything my full present attention. My thoughts aren’t carrying me away because I have limited data so I’m not going on social media as much and not listening to the news, so I have less to think about or look up. I’m not in a rush to leave the playground because I have a schedule to adhere to and nowhere else to go. It doesn’t matter how long it takes us to conquer a long hike with the kids because we have everything we need with us, and all the time in the world.
I had to pretty much take everything out of my life except my family and our essential possessions to reach this level of presence. You probably don’t need to do all that to achieve the level of presence you want, but it seems like it was the only way for me and my monkey brain! We are in a pretty unique position to be travelling in our home and not having to worry about our finances, being financially independent. I am so grateful for this life we have created, and it’s going to be a long while before I start re-adding things to my do-list!