Monday, November 21, 2011

Paying Attention

The buzz for the past few years has been all about living in the moment: being aware of what is happening now, right now, and not allowing the past or the future intrude. It's not something that seems to come naturally to most of us, and like other things that are good for us, requires intention and practice.
The seasons and animals and children, that's where the real joy of being in the moment happens. Some, like dogs and chickens, are simply the example of how it's done; others provide a distraction. If something is bothering me, I can head outside for a walk and while a problem may still turn over and over in my mind, the smell of mud and leaves, the sound of a pileated woodpecker searching a tree for a snack, the sight of a deer in the field provide enough distraction to remind me to let go. I've been known to sit in the chicken pen, just watching the hens peck around and listening to their funny noises, in order to let go of tension.
There is no stress today or a worry that is keeping me preoccupied, however. I'm thinking about being present in every moment as I share with my colleagues the oatmeal cookies I made last night. Bless this crew, they'll eat anything, even these poor specimens. See, making oatmeal cookies as a healthy snack at work was on the weekend agenda but so was cleaning out the chicken coop and putting away the last of the dry groceries my mother left behind before she headed off to Georgia for the winter and organizing the boxes of Christmas decorations. So the  baking didn't happen until after supper and I did it during commercials breaks while we watched a movie on TV. I think this accounts for the fact that there appears to be too much sugar in my cookies - it's practically carmelized - and not enough oats. In trying to keep up with the plot of the movie, I may have forgotten that second cup of rolled oats. Not paying attention.
Cooking and baking are activities I find relaxing and productive but they certainly are another lesson in the importance of being present in the moment. Not an inedible lesson this time but they aren't raving about my cookies like they did about my mother's. Then again, I did say I wanted healthy...and she always makes hers with lots of chocolate.

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