Fully Present

I learned about living in the present moment from my creative, life-loving Grandma Huston. Oh, no we never had a conversation about it, but just observing her for a day (or even just a good ten minutes!) you would realize that she lived differently. She lived in the moment and said YES to the opportunities brought to her.

One of the ways I saw her model this “embracing of the present moment” was through the Famous Sledding Excursion. As kids, my sister and I watched Grandma Huston grab one of our sleds and sail down the side of the snow covered hill, leaving us both to figure out how to get along with one remaining sled. She was living in the moment and enjoying the sledding adventure with her grandkids… not content to sit on the sidelines and observe, but rather ready to be going down the hill, side by side with one of us (or the both of us crammed on the remaining sled) hearts beating with passion, fun, and adventure in the current moment.

One of the other many ways she displayed this to us was when my sister and I visited her home as kids and played in the woods she had cleared for us. A game of baseball together (using the tree trunks as bases), a sip of sugar water in a special cove she had made into a hide out, and learning to suck the sweet nectar from the honeysuckle– these were all things Grandma did with us, taught us by example. She didn’t just observe or stand by– she was there in the middle of it with us, present. She was an expert at living in the present moment.

In recent years, I called up to invite my grandma to join me for lunch as I stayed at a famous castle for a writer’s retreat that was located not too far from her home. She was quick to say YES to the opportunity presented her and we discovered the castle together, ate luxurious food and laughed– all in the moment. And somehow this adventurous grandma of mine also found out a way to finagle a seat next to the popular author and lead teacher of the event, without batting an eyelash. She sat there and enjoyed herself, even sharing funny stories (that is just how she was) and becoming the life of the party. It’s as if she was able to fully dive into the moment presented her and also fully be herself. I absolutely loved that about her.

Much of Grandma Huston lives on in me– all the way from the creativity that bursts forth from my heart to the gentle tinkle of our laughter (yes my sister and I inherited her giggle- especially when together).  One of the things her life taught me most was to be engaged in the moment– to live fully in the present moment.

Lately, I have seen my own opportunities to live in the present moment crop up in my day to day life. It’s an invitation to fully participate in the present moment. A few of the smaller opportunities being:

Sledding:  (I made sure to bring my own sled 😂) The kids and I raced to go over the jumps and compared how far we could get our sled tracks to go. By participating with them I was not just “hearing” about how awesome the jump was but also experiencing it side by side with them.

Iceskating: Again, resisting the comfortable urge to cheer them on from the sidelines and instead lace up my own pair of skates, identifying with the joy (and frustration at times too) of the experience.  

Laughter moments: It may seem like no big deal, but even just taking a moment to belly laugh with my kids  over silly things they say or faces they make or accents they make up (you can ask my youngest about that last one!)

Karate: Yes, I said Karate! Through a series of events I found myself with a choice— sit on the sidelines and cheer the kids on (no problems with that folks) or participate in class with my kids. I wanted to say YES to that “Grandma Huston moment”– living in the present moment that so innocently presented itself to me. I have to admit it was a bit intimidating taking those first steps… the adults watching, the current class filled with kids, and even the instructors were so young they could probably “technically” be my children! But I am so glad nothing stopped this mama! I was amazed after the 1st class just how much fun we had together and how empowering it is to kick collapsible boards and bring out all your ninja moves with no limits (talk about full out abandonment). I’ve chose to go back again, and again, and again. We are getting in a routine and it is fun and there is nothing like our hearts beating in tandem as we all complete our kicks and at the end of class we high five each other. And, after yesterday’s class, I just realized I am teaching my kids a powerful lesson too, that they can do what they put their mind to and they can always choose to live in the present moment regardless of age, situation or any other factor. That is the lesson of the “Grandma Huston” moment.

This being fully present (in whatever shape or form it presents itself) makes our hearts beat with excitement, passion, adventure. It adds an extra little sparkle to our eyes, a pep to our step (or a sore limp to our step depending on the week at karate! 😂) In fact, it is a bit reminiscent of the verse in John 10:10,

“I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

In Scripture we read many verses about dealing with anxiety and worry. Each time Jesus makes it clear he doesn’t want us to live in a haze of the past and in anxiety for the future. No, instead He wants us to revel in the present moment and all He has done for us through His sacrifice on the cross. We don’t have to wait until we enter those pearly gates to have abundant life- we can have it here and now because of what Jesus has done for us.

I have found that living in the present moment takes a child-like faith (Matthew 18:3). With this faith we can be brave enough to look at the circumstances ahead and the situations in the past and say: I will rest here. I will choose to live in this moment knowing God is taking care of all of my tomorrows as well as all the days past. There is an immense joy and blessing to be found in today and I will not miss my chance to say YES to it and anything else God brings my way.

This week, may you find yourself saying YES to “being fully present” daily. May you recognize the nudge that calls you out to do more than just observe… and may you have the courage to act on it. All we really hold on our hands is the moment of NOW. Trying to hold the past or the future is like trying to hold water. It just trickles out of our fingers… but the water flow of NOW– let’s splash in it, soak ourselves in it, fully immerse ourselves in it. Let’s thoroughly enjoy the time of NOW and saying YES to the “Grandma Huston” moments that come calling in our days.

Until next time,

PS. I would enjoy hearing your stories. ❤ Was there someone who encouraged you to live fully in the present moment? Comment below or message me.

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