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Being intentionally present.

This is most certainly a topsy turvy world we are living in. The motion of wheels spinning, but with no sense of traction, especially in quickly changing environments, can cause deep seated anxiety. While learning to 'plan for the future' is necessary, so many of us miss the beauty of the present, as we scurry around our day.

Think about it like this; is there a memory, good or bad, that sticks in your mind like it was yesterday. The day you swam in the ocean with your mom. The day the class bully got a taste of their own medicine. The day you got your first promotion. The exact moment when the towers began to fall on 9/11. It's a memory that brings back emotion.

But there are ways to intentionally create good memories. Ones that when you think about them in the future, will unlock feelings of deep contentment and joy. They don't cost money, and they don't take a lot of time. Just be intentional about creating them. The laughter of your child. The sound of someone saying, "I love you." The look of a building/art piece/landscape you appreciate. Let the memory sink in. Smell it in. Breathe it in. Allow your eyes to feast on the moment. And tuck it away in your heart, for a rainy day...and remember what it was like, (like a portal into another realm) when you were in THAT moment.

Learn to be intentionally 'present' when the simple things in life happen, that can create joy for ages to come. Stop. Ask yourself, "What will I remember about this moment?" Is it the smell of your child's clean hair, the freckles on his face, the way he laughed so loud. I remember one day in particular when I was putting into practice what I myself was learning. I was crossing the road and reminding myself to "Stop and smell the roses" when I heard my children start giggling from the back seat of our car. They were 2 and 3 YO at the time. And my next one up was 5. My days were hands full, that's for sure. Moments of quiet were sacred and they were all occupied with something as I drove in silence. I was drinking in every second of it.

Suddenly I heard them all giggle, I looked to see what they were laughing at, and all it was, was a balloon being blown about by the wind. The more the wind swept the balloon in different directions, the more they giggled. I purposed to 'take it all in and remember, to be fully present in the moment...'. To this day, I can remember exactly where I was, how the balloon looked as it danced, and me losing my need to have a quiet car on a crazy day and enjoy the sound of my children hollering with laughter. Breathe. Take it in. Smell the smells. Take in the sounds. Remember.

You know, each day truly carries a beauty within it. Even when days get really difficult. You hear the diagnosis. You lose the job. You experience betrayal on a deep and personal level. Yes, you brace for impact. And then...look for the beauty. Cry if you must. Ask for a hug if you want. But, look for the beauty in the moments.

I remember when we lost my sister-in-love to cancer. It was about a month before she graduated to go live in heaven, and we went to go and visit her. My heart was filled with so much pain. She had lost all her hair and was tremendously gaunt. But we still had her and I was determined to 'take it all in' so I would remember our time forever. Instinctively, as if she knew what I was thinking, she walked up to me, took my hand, looked deep into my eyes and said, "I love you Nicole. I have always loved you." I can still taste the tears as we held each other, but I can also feel the warmth of her skin and tangibly feel the love in her eyes. I was determined to keep that memory like a key that fits into a jewelry box till I get to see her again in person and keep opening up the gift that she is to all of us.

We all need those keys. Those memories that open up something that is to be treasured forever. Collect those keys intentionally. Be intentionally present.

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