How three toddlers reminded me of the beauty in staying present and the importance of having gratitude for the simple things…
I sat on the grass, with my mask around my neck, on one of the first beautifully warm and sunny days of the year. I had been extremely frustrated at home and was feeling lacklustre and unmotivated. On this day, however, the sky was a gorgeous blue with not a single cloud in sight. I thought to myself that I needed to get out of the house for the sake of my well-being and for my sanity. I had become increasingly aware over these past few months that we really ought to be grateful for the little things, like gorgeous days, and whatever is right and wonderful in our worlds. So, with that stunningly blue sky in mind, I packed up my laptop, a blanket with some Perrier and left the house to head over to the music garden, so that I could hopefully get some writing done. I found the perfect spot, far enough away from a family with a young child to be properly “socially-distanced”, but right where I could soak up some sunshine.
They left soon afterward, and were replaced by a mother and her little boy. The mother pulled out a contraption of sorts, which I soon saw was a “bubble-maker”. She held it in the air and as the wind blew, a stream of bubbles flowed out of it, over towards where I was seated. The sun danced with them as they radiated the most beautiful colours. I giggled, both at the sight of the bubbles wafting through the air, and at the mother who was entertaining her baby. It had been DECADES since I had seen bubbles, blown in the air and I remembered how much I loved them as a little girl.
Then the sweetest thing happened. Another mother approached with her toddler, and then another one after that! I watched the three children, in complete awe, staring at these strange things floating through the air. One stood completely still, who were strangers to one another, in complete awe, as they stared at these strange things floating through the air. One stood completely still, eyes glued to the strange objects while another chased the bubbles, gleefully, running in one direction and then the other. I was suddenly aware of a louder, more audible giggle and I realized that my own laughter had increased from watching these three little ones be completely and utterly present with the simplest joy: blowing bubbles. I even caught myself popping them, as they floated by me!
The truth is, I had prayed for this the night before.
Well, not this exact scenario, but this is the way that what I had prayed for showed up.
I had noticed that I hadn’t been experiencing true joy in my life and it was starting to show. So I said a prayer specifically for increased joy then immediately after that, I listened to a Super Soul Conversations podcast where Oprah Winfrey interviewed Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now and A New Earth. I was reminded of the concept of being completely present, something that had I also learned through my recent mindfulness meditation practice. I also learned that even when we feel certain about what is going to happen in our lives, indeed everything that hasn’t happened as yet is uncertain. The difference in this specific time is that we are “certainly uncertain”. There is an overarching collective acceptance of uncertainty, which we all face at this time, and so since we can’t control our future and what is to come, doesn’t it make sense to be completely fixated on the present? I mean, the next moment is going to arrive anyway, and we would potentially have missed the current, yet fleeting, moment!
And there it was for me in the present: JOY, in all its splendour.
There is always the opportunity to learn, and these lessons will come in all forms. The teacher may be at any age or stage in their lives, and it is up to us to recognize and to utilize these opportunities and lessons that are thrown our way. It was in that moment, in the music garden, where I was definitely being shown me how little we truly need to be happy. These tiny humans had it just right, and were experiencing the fullness of joy and the elation that is available to us all. Their laughter was contagious and it infiltrated my being. I remembered my prayer from the night before, and I realized that the universe will show up in the simplest and most profound ways, to let us know that we are not alone.
I sat there completely flabbergasted, thinking about what had just happened. By simply leaving my home and engaging with another being, or a few, I had opened myself up to joy in the present moment. It was such a beautiful reminder. And it was a CHOICE. My teachers had been a only a couple feet tall, and on this earth for a year or two, but they were powerful, nonetheless. And I was grateful, so so grateful to them, for reigniting a fire inside of me, and for the reminder that being present in these moments is absolutely essential to our well-being, and for the constant experience of joy in our lives.