It is springtime in the Arizona desert and, as I drive the streets that line the bases of the mountains, it is as if the whole earth is lit up with the yellows of poppies and brittle bush and marigolds. Bursts of orange African daisies and purple lupine and verbena appear on the roadsides between stretches of sidewalk and graveled hiking trails.
I tell you this because the last time I spent the spring in Phoenix, I couldn’t tell you what was in bloom, or dormant, or what colors appeared anywhere. I wasn’t really present. I was merely here counting the days until I’d be back at the beach.
This time is different. Completely. I am present. Open to what happens each day. And I haven’t even thought about when I’m heading back to the beach.
Because life happens where we are, in the present moment.
It is in the NOW that we hug our friends and feel the love. It’s being here in the moment where we notice the colors popping and feel the intensity of the sun on our skin.
It’s in the present moment that we feel the sadness too. Being here, I notice how much more I miss Laddy. I’ve been crying a lot, feeling his absence. But I lean in and feel the loss, and that’s living in the now, too.
I’m sure I’m experiencing this big shift because, the day before I left the beach, I set the intention to be grateful for my time in Arizona, fully and completely, with no regrets, and with full presence.
I set things up with my time here differently, too. Yes, I came to town primarily to work with clients. But this time I didn’t jam every single day with work. And I have reserved every Thursday morning for my cherished yoga class. I even gave myself an extra half hour between yoga and my afternoon client so that I can languish in the way my body feels after my practice, and enjoy lunch without rushing.
And I haven’t planned a dinner out with a friend every single evening. Instead, I’m staying home some nights enjoying Marika’s home cooking, and stretching out on the couch watching TV.
Even the warm weather hasn’t really get to me, because I was expecting it.
And I find myself saying thank you a lot. Because when we are present we are more able to be grateful for what is.
I am still in awe of this life I have created that allows me to come back to Phoenix where clients greet me with hugging arms, where friends remember my birthday and treat me to delicious meals, where my home away from home is comfortable, familiar and full of love.
Having an attitude of gratitude may seem like just a silly rhyme. But I invite you to try it. Because it really works!