We celebrated the end of summer by taking a road trip to Show Low, a place of refuge in the desert. This past weekend smelled of crisp mornings of timid sunshine and the sounds of water running across a stream of rocks in a creek. The pine trees emitted a scent of rosemary and green lush forests decorated mountaintops. My daughter collected small pine cones that she called “acorns”, ate smores, and ran around barefoot on the golf course.

My mind reflected on this place and its peaceful aura, but because I am so focused on worshipping a past memory or anticipating the future, I robbed myself of really sinking into the beauty and stillness that surrounded me. It is an inner restlessness that I constantly battle. I write about living in the present and realize that the substance of life exists in reminding yourself of now, not of before or later, but I am wholly unable to put the present in practice. What keeps inhibiting me from getting there?

Events that have occurred in the last few weeks have led to an important epiphany. My mind is always anticipating. I anticipate the beginnings and endings and hellos and goodbyes, when really, the essence of life exists in continuum. My need to fixate on anticipating is sabotaging my desire to live in the present. What will happen tomorrow? Will I be prepared? How will this work? These are often questions in my mind. My feet feel as if they are always dangling, wondering where they will land next.

As we packed up our bags, I heard my daughter laughing with purpose. The sounds of the creek echoed in the background and the smell of pine grazed my nose as I stood still. Don’t move, I told myself. Enjoy now. Will yourself to feel the energy of embracing the moment. Smiling to myself, I realized the strength of that second.