At Vickie Russell Bell's yoga retreat last week, she had us focus on the present. Sure, sounds easy but actually it is a very difficult practice. Her guiding thoughts were that there is nothing real but the present; the past is just memory and the future just fantasy. This idea encouraged me to notice my present. What I recognized is that I'm in a constant state of memory-fantasy-blending.
Throughout the day, as I let myself relax, often I am mingling memories of the past with fantasies of the future. One depends on the other and become blended as my mind contemplates, day dreams, plots, and analyzes. Is this being present? The only solution I could find to anchoring myself in the here-and-now was to focus on my breath, noticing it move through my body. Usually this lasts a few moments and I again float into the merger of past and future.
My memory-fantasy world is a well developed place. I have all kinds of alternate realities in this "Amy World". But I also noticed that many of the roads lead to frustration an disappointment. My creative mind spins all kinds of scenarios and often I grab on to one and take it for a ride. These adventures are reckless and exciting but often end in crashes with reality.
Being present is hard work.