I am on a train, travelling from Sorrento to Napoli. I am on a train and not the fancy kind. Rather, the kind I was warned about prior to my trip to Italy. The kind where I was told to bring wipes and sanitizer for my hands. Where the AC is opening the windows and the “advertising” on the walls is graffiti. That kind of train.
I settle into my seat and proceed to start reading a book.
Several stops in, a couple of local musicians get on the train. A saxophonist and an accordion player. They begin to play and I continue with my face in my book. Ironically, a book about being present in the moment...
I see the irony of the situation and put my book down. I close my eyes and proceed to "experience " the moment. I can hear the music more clearly now. I feel the breeze from the window and I am swaying in my seat as the train speeds along. I become totally immersed in what is going on. And then it happens. I am completely overwhelmed with the absolute beauty of the experience. All my senses are fully engaged in the moment. True presence. It brings me to tears. I let the tears stream down my face and savour that as well.
Then it is over.
Being in the moment is a learning process for me. I am intellectually aware that "now" is truly all we've got and at times, I sneak ahead of where I am or creep back to where I was. I'm not suggesting that you can't do that, just try and spend more time where you are. The power was immense and now I have a beautiful memory to tap into to remind me of the gift of presence.
So, how am I going to incorporate this practice more deeply as I am settling back into work? Being conscious about doing it first of all. Remembering that the whole experience was maybe 3 to 5 minutes tops and how often do I find myself with a couple of minutes in my day? How many of you have 3 to 5 minutes between a meeting or a phone call where you could sit and just “be”. Wherever that may be? Go back to visit an experience that brought you a gift that you could use in that moment. Maybe a gift of patience, certainty or a little escape to a trip you once took. Try it next time you have a few minutes and see what opens up for you.