It's nearly three weeks since Claire had the stroke, and I am delighted to report that she is coming on really well. Her speech is improving, she is able to get herself from wheelchair to bed to loo to chair (not necessarily in that order); movement and muscle control is slowly coming back. It is incredible though to watch my vital, energetic friend working so hard on keeping her bottom tucked in and her feet balanced as she slowly stands up. The concentration involved in a movement that we take for granted and just three weeks ago so did she.
It has so brought home to me that notion of being in the present. I was reading Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now this evening while eating a scone that my Mum had baked this morning. I got half way through eating the scone and realised that I had hardly tasted it, I was so ingrossed in the book. How often, I wonder, do I... do you... eat, walk, talk on autopilot paying no attention to the presence of where we are, what we are putting in our mouths, what we are doing? How often do we truly enjoy the moment we are in, in our haste to get to the next moment?
So I put the book down and ate the rest of the scone in revered silence, giving the scone the attention it deserved, honouring my mother's wonderful baking and the love she pours into it. It tasted so good, light, crumbly, sweet. I became conscious of each mouthful, each roll of the tongue, each grind of the teeth, each muscle in my face involved in the act of eating. I gave that scone the same level of concentration that Claire has to employ to stand up correctly, isolating and controlling each muscle and each movement.
I started to think about when, if ever, I am truly in the 'now'. The closest I think I get to switching off my thoughts and being truly in the present on a regular basis is when I am riding the horses. That's one of the reasons I love it, because I can and do switch off from everything and focus just on Penny or Jester and I, always with the intention of becoming as one entity in each moment; our energies moving and merging together. In this moment, and when we get that sense of true harmony, our energies merging into one, there is only joy - nothing else.
When I focused purely on the eating of the scone and became mindless of anything else, there was only joy. I thought of Tolle's instruction: Wherever you are, be there totally. I was totally with that scone and it was bliss. I think I'll 'be' in the 'now' more often. Now, after all, is all that exists, we might as well enjoy it.