Focusing on the Now


As I sit here overlooking the sea dotted with little islands, the mountains rising in the distance to my left and watching aeroplanes landing regularly on the edge-of-the-water runway, I recognise how very fortunate we are to be here. Right here, right now. I am grateful for this very moment, as the sweat of humidity gathers on my forehead and the breeze of a languidly rotating fan, and the slow breeze from the window join together to turn that perspiration into a naturally cooling agent for my body. The low slung sun turns the surface of the calm sea golden and its late evening heat feels pleasantly warm on my skin. So we make plans to head to that beckoning view and watch the setting of the sun from the beach instead of our 6th floor eyrie. 

I know that as we head to the beach the heady smells of food being freshly cooked at the little stalls on the way will assail our senses and tempt us into sharing a $4 meal on our way back- sitting at a table amidst laughing families, playing children and coy couples. 

Life has over the last few days settled into a routine of sorts, and every time something new or different happens – ie visiting the shopping centre to buy a local SIM card and while away some time chatting to the girl who assists us, meeting and getting to know friends of our friends’ and adding them to our own list of friends, searching out a market that sells fresh produce, getting comfortable in this unfamiliar space and trying to make it ‘home’ – I am brought to attention that I am here in this place, and have to almost pinch myself to check if I’m dreaming. 

The frangipani I’ve placed in a tiny egg cup at my ‘writing table’ reminds me that I’m not in Western Australia. I am also reminded that we are definitely not on our boat! This change of plans happened so quickly that I hardly had time to register the fact that we were going away for 3 months, before our plane was landing!

I know that if I’d had the time to think, the time we had in WA would have rushed past unobserved, the moments unseized, and time just squandered. Instead because of the lack of anxiety on my part we were able to catch up with various family members and some friends and use those few days more wisely and remain happy, instead of in a constant state of stress and worry. 

It is unfortunately in my nature to dream of being somewhere else (no matter how wonderful the current moment is), to be planning the next holiday, or project or to-do on my list, worrying about the next deadline, talking a problem to death, allowing my thoughts and baseless worries to have control over me and my emotions. As Mark Twain said “I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”! 

Dare I hope that I am slowly, very slowly, changing that mindset and learning to chill? Because the last few days I haven’t been thinking of being anywhere else but here. The biggest concern has been whether I should have a swim before or after breakfast. 

I was reading recently that people who are mindful and focussed on the NOW are happier, more empathetic, and more secure; they have higher self esteem and are more accepting of their weaknesses. Those that anchor their thoughts and awareness in the HERE and now reduce the triggers to depression and anxiety, increase their self control, are more accommodating and less defensive with their partners and have more satisfying relationships. 

Well then … bring on the ‘being in the moment’ I say! I want to savour whatever I am doing right at each moment. To involve my senses in that activity, in that doing, in that thought, in that person, and feel the simple joy that comes with that. 

I want to lose track of time and get absorbed in it. To notice what is new and different and be in the HERE and now. To ‘rest in stillness, to stop doing and focus on just being’. 

And what better place to learn these lessons, this new way of thinking and doing and being, than in beautiful Sabah with its lush greenery and sparkling seas, it’s friendly people and delicious food. 

The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little. – Jon Kabat-Zinn

So off we head to absorb the sunset and savour some of that food I can already smell!

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