Being present

I love this time of the year! The time of the year when the leaves are changing to the picturesque yellow-orange-red gradient and there is a slight, crisp chill in the air. Like all good things that must come to an end, the characteristic “fall” time is only around for a few fleeting weeks. If you are not careful, you may even miss it! As young adults busy in school, the fall is the beginning of a new academic year and we can often lose ourselves to the hectic demands that come with it, forgetting to divulge in the beauty of the nature that surrounds us.

There are many tenants of mindfulness meditation and one of the key aspects is learning and practicing how to be present. This past week, I really found myself struggling to stay present. I am a creature of habit and not fond of my day-to-day routine being thrown off, particularly if it involves my sleep schedule taking the hit (I’m a firm 10 PM – 6 AM kinda gal), which was the case last week. I found myself struggling to focus and losing my concentration to memories of the past. Towards the end of the week, I noticed that I was simply going through the motions, including my mindfulness sessions. Upon this realization, I congratulated myself for “waking up” and did not let my brain waste effort on feeling bad for this little slip up. Instead, I turned inward to ask myself why this happened and reflect on what I could learn from it.

Life has a sneaky way of piling up everything at once and it is during these times that we may unintentionally seek escapes, even something as simple as dreaming of the future or longing for the past like I found myself doing last week. I currently have 3 large tasks that all require my full attention with similar and imminent deadlines, which means I’m trying to juggle all 3 simultaneously and maintain some semblance of a healthy work-life balance. During these times when I feel like I’m shouldering more burdens than usual, I remember that life doesn’t give us more than we can handle. I feel that the best way I can tackle these challenges is to remain present in every moment. To achieve this, I will continue my practice of mindfulness meditation and follow my personalized self-care practices. By maintaining my self-care practices, I’m slowly putting to ease the nagging part of my brain that has always felt unsettled by not giving 110% of myself to my research. Lastly, I will remember that I’m more efficient and better at work when I’ve properly taken care of myself.

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” — Buddha

One thought on “Being present

  1. You did well to spot that you were going through the motions. I wish I’d discovered mindfulness when I was doing my PhD – it might have stopped all those late nights thinking about referencing when I would have been better off asleep!


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