I love the synchronicity of the universe. I am always being reminded to come back into the present moment. This morning I was feeling restless even after a silent meditation and inspirational daily read message. I decided to get some exercise and bring my puppy for a run with the bike. As I was riding my bike down a winding country road, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine and the shade of the big canopy of trees, out of nowhere, a black shiny car drove by with a Hawaii license plate that said “FL GOOD”. Now at that very moment, I had been listening with my headphones, to a guided meditation on Insight Timer on my iPhone. The narrator of the meditation had just finished saying in his deep peaceful, Australian voice, “Breathe in, relax and feel good.” I smiled as I acknowledged the connection between the guided meditation and the message from the car. I felt my body relax and I remembered that there is no need to be anywhere other than here, and that I don’t need to escape life, my feelings or my mind. Instead, I simply need to befriend them and let myself feel good, and be fully in the moment. I stopped worrying about the future and felt a stillness rise up from deep within me.
Then I considered the various ways I escape the moment because I find it to be too painful, fearful, unknown, or boring. Netflix, food, FB and focusing on others’ problems rather than my own are ways I sometimes check out of life and miss the present moment. Even meditation or overworking can become an unhealthy escape if I use them in excess to avoid entering into the void in my soul that wants to be filled up with love. This pattern of escaping the painful or scary present moment began as a child. My friend’s daughter demonstrates this point.
Yesterday, Alicia, a good friend of mine, shared with me that her 10-year old daughter, Holly, is addicted to audible books. I found myself saying, “Well that’s not so bad, better than videos, and TV.” But, then she shook her head and sadly said, “No, you don’t understand, she doesn’t even want to tell me about her day or talk while we are riding home from school, she just wants to enter the fantasy world of her stories. And one story is never enough, she always has to have more and more books. She even goes to sleep while listening to them.” I next questioned her about the content of the books. She informed me that they are positive stories of fairytale characters and heroes.” So, why is that so bad?” I asked. Alicia quickly responded that her daughter was missing the precious present moments of life, friends, and family and most importantly – uncovering her own thoughts and feelings.
Then it struck me that she was right. Anything we use in excess to remove us from this reality and present moment may detract from our full aliveness, feelings and intuition. As with Holly, while an occasional audio book can be uplifting and fun, the addictive need to have one after another indicates there is a deeper issue at hand. Alicia went on to tell me that her daughter is struggling with making friends at her new school and with the content of the material in fifth grade. The pain of loneliness and sense of failure are perhaps too much for Holly to deal with, thus the escape into books.
Our minds can be very tricky places to navigate. I think maybe a survival mechanism is built in that says, “Escape! Exit! Leave now!” when our pain threshold gets too high. How we choose to follow the directive to evacuate ourselves is up to us. Nowadays, I am more likely to get out into nature and exercise or call a friend and talk about what is going on inside my crazy brain rather than reverting to old, outdated or dysfunctional modes of escape. Today I got lucky and chose a guided meditation to reign me back in to peace, and that was enforced with an impromptu message from a passing car to feel good. When I live in the present moment, life is never too much to deal with and synchronicities can happen.