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How to Remain Present Among the Sleepwalkers

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

I find myself thinking a lot about time lately. How fast it seems to be moving and how hard it feels to keep up with. What is it about getting older that speeds the dial of the clock? Are we just missing things as they are in this moment because of our busy schedules, or did we somewhere along the way lose our fascination with being in one, solitary moment?

I can remember summer nights as a kid, laying on the grass in my yard, looking up at the trees and listening to the sounds of crickets, being completely content in the simplicity of just a single summer night. Life seemed more enchanting then; a summer could be drawn out to feel like a year and each new day came with it the prospect of adventure.

That’s not to say that being an adult doesn’t offer the same opportunity, but lately I find myself wishing for things to slow down; to wake up and breathe in the morning; to take notice of what I’m saying and who I’m talking to throughout the day; to appreciate the small, mutterings of the night.

So much of my life is set on autopilot. It’s easy to go through the motions of the day, craving the moment you’re off work and back home again. It’s custom to go through the week only seeing the weekend in sight.

I can go through however many days I want without paying attention to the buzzing signs of life drifting all around me. I can have conversations with people without sincerely listening to everything they have to say, merely waiting for my turn to speak. I can go home after work and wonder where all of the hours in the day went. And I can wake up one distant morning from now, as a grey haired, wrinkled, old woman and wonder where my life has gone.

I don’t want to rush my life though. I don’t want to miss the moments in between what I’m doing now and who I’m hastening to become. I begin to feel like parts of myself are fading when I lose myself to sleepwalking. The only cure for this is to find some sense of freshness in any given moment.

Start paying attention to everything that exists around you: the sounds of your normal, daily activities; the smell of another new day; the faces you see and the stories they have to tell. Begin listening to your own story; the life you are scripting with every thought you think and every word that comes from your mouth.

When you begin to see life as more than just a habitual schedule of workdays and free weekends, you will feel the difference between living as someone oblivious and uninterested in their surroundings and someone who consciously chooses the steps they want to take in the road that was designed precisely and solely for them.

“Pain is a spiritual wake-up call showing you that there are oceans you have not yet explored. Step beyond the world you know. Reach for heights that you never thought possible. Go to places you have deemed off limits. This is the time to take off the shell of your past and step into the rich possibilities of your future. God does not give us dreams that we cannot fulfill. If you want to do something great with your life-whether it's to fall madly in love, become a teacher, be a great parent-if you aspire to do something beyond what you are doing now, this is the time to begin. Trust yourself.”

–Debbie Ford


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