When Time Flies
I remember the first time someone said to me, “It goes so fast,” when my oldest son, James, was a newborn. I didn’t believe them. I wondered how fast it could possibly go? At that point, the days and nights were blurring together as one, long, exhausting stretch of time. It seemed like I would never have a good night’s sleep again. We eventually added a second son and then a daughter, and now James is a freshman in high school. It went by so fast.
Since James started high school this fall I am hyper aware of the limited time we have left with him at home. I want to make everything count and at the same time, I am trying to manage a life that is fuller and busier than ever before. The stress of trying to make the most of our time together and managing our daily lives at the same time is mounting. Between notes and e-mail messages from three different schools, current events, and my own work, there is an incredible amount of stimuli coming my way. It almost seems like too much to bear at times. I know that most of my friends feel the same way.
As a student and teacher of yoga, I am also aware of the gift of being present in only this moment. I try to remind myself that the only thing to do right now is whatever is right there in front of me. I don’t need to rush, worry, doubt, or wonder “What if?” I only need to pay close attention to right now. It sounds so simple, right? It is actually a challenge for most of us to stay present and the danger in that is that we miss the moments fleeing by when we can’t get out of our heads.
The quickest and most reliable way to get present is to pay attention to your breath. Or, to notice how you inhale and exhale when you breathe. Tuning in to my breathing puts me right back in my body and grounds me in the present moment. Becoming aware of one’s breath and paying attention to inhaling and exhaling is a powerful practice. Breathing with intention can’t stop time from moving quickly or my children from growing up so fast, but it can keep me present in the moment in front of me. It can ensure that I’m not missing anything and making it all count to the best of my ability.
When I am present in the moment, I’m more likely to notice the freckles on my children’s faces and to appreciate the way their laughter fills our home. I know I will miss these things when the house is empty and quiet again someday. Life is not about who needed to be where or what needed to get done. It is about who is here, living right alongside me. While I am aware it is going by quickly, I cherish the gifts received in these fleeting moments.
With extraordinary honesty, Anna Hodges Oginsky shares how she experienced grief after the sudden death of her father. My New Friend, Grief: Reflections on Loss and Life tells the story of how Oginsky’s previous life experience shaped her understanding of death and loss. As she sifted through the broken pieces of her heart, she discovered that befriending grief would allow her to move through life in richer, more meaningful ways. My New Friend Grief brings to light the feelings and fears many of us face in grief, but hesitate to explore. As Oginsky reveals her personal insights into loss and life, we find a friend who affirms for us that, as we too grieve, we are not alone.