The Present Continuous or a Continuous Present

Life is a way, not an arrival point. Living in the present is one of the vital keys to living a happy and meaningful life. While climbing all the situations we face every day, we can learn the worth of being in progress and consider it a present.

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A few days ago I found a quote of Conrad Anker that says that “the summit is what drives us, but the climb itself is what matters.” I live in a city surrounded by magnificent mountains and even if I am not a very sporty person, I have climbed some several times. On these excursions it is easy for me to distinguish among my friends, the real hikers. I always admire those who enjoy the trip from the very first minute, even when we are just preparing the snacks. Those are the ones that, when we are climbing, stop and admire every inch of the landscape. They are happy with every step of the way, not only when they summit the peak. They are like poets, who can transform ordinary and small steps into beautiful poetry because the climb is what matters for them. The process of climbing the mountain is what they like most. They enjoy the journey, the people they meet along the way.

We all want to reach the top of the mountain, achieve our goals, get results. We sometimes function with the idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job or when the next door is opened. But we are missing the in between. Happiness is not a destination point, but a journey. All the happiness and growth occur while we are on our way because it is in this process that we are growing, we are learning, we are improving. All these are present continuous tense verbs and that is what the process is: a continuous gift. Conquering our daily mountains shape us as people. It depends on us if we start valuing the fact we are part of the process and the beauty of that.

What if we, as homemakers, learned to look at our lives like mountain hikers and enjoy every step of our journey? We are making a home and this is maybe the biggest project of our lives. Homemakers face the same situations as any project manager. Whenever they are working on something big they do not see progress or improvement in every step they take, in every phase of the project. Indeed, they need time to appreciate the distance traveled. We all need perspective just as mountain climbing can teach us to go through life being mindful and living in the present moment. 

There are so many seemingly mundane tasks homemakers do every day. We can try to perform these tasks by staying present in the moment and trying to enjoy it. For instance, if you are doing the laundry, try to listen to the water filling the washing machine and try to feel the smell of the clean clothes. By being mindful and fully ‘there’, laundry can be something we enjoy and not a tedious task. Let’s focus on the process, not just the outcome. We can begin to live in the present and see it as a never ending gift. 

The crisis of the pandemic is teaching me to value the journey and to enjoy what comes in between.  In life there are times when we are reminded of our dependency on others. During this time what we need to do is to practice mindfulness and to learn to cultivate gratitude and hope. Gratitude because there are so many reasons to be thankful for and hope because we all know that this situation will not last forever. It depends on us if we decide to use this time of confinement as a period to realise we need to mindfully live every day in the present.

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