When you are constantly pulled away from yourself, you are a nomad in the world and no where will ever feel like home.

 My entire life I have been an “escaper.” No matter where or whom I have been with, the present moment always felt constricting, and tomorrow was never close enough. Swinging between past and future, I was never able to stay present for long. Even what should have been a fun and relaxing time, simply felt in the way of something else. 

What exactly, I’ll never know. 

When you constantly try and escape the now, you leave yourself behind and become very, very tired. 

Recently, good old Life tapped me on the shoulder and firmly whispered: “To Go Far, You Must Learn The Art Of Staying.”

Her words both terrified me and filled me with dismay. “Stay? Me? No way!” I anxiously kept on thinking, while trying to sneak out unnoticed. 

 But Life has eyes everywhere, and in the end, whatever escape I attempted, failed miserably. Suddenly things stopped working the way they used to in my world. The plans I always masterly put together, started to change at the very last minute, leaving me furious and frustrated. At times, I genuinely felt Life was having fun with me, as she knows only too well that I have always been a planner and I like having a certain structure in my days. 

 Everything around me demanded my attention and undivided presence. The two very things I never had enough of. I was being asked to go with the flow, another thing that always felt foreign and challenging. 

So there I stood, unable to flee and constantly being reminded that we only ever have this moment. 

We are the Now. 

When we really see this, we stop moving and stay right where we are, because there is nowhere else we could ever be. To offer our presence at this very instant is to be one with Life. Totally engulfed in her and all her gifts. In the now, we feel full and open, even at times of discomfort. There is the sudden realization that we are always held by something far greater than our master plans, when we can truly surrender to what each moment brings.  

As I learn to replace my compulsive need to orchestrate the future with a trusting presence, these days I always go back to my breath to anchor myself in whatever I am experiencing. Although this is not always easy, breathing consciously helps me to slow down and “come back to base” whenever I go astray. I am grateful I can rely on the help of some expert breathers who are committed to help others  staying within their own own goodness. Admittingly, it is only when I am closer to home that I feel strong and safe, regardless of what is happening around me.

Staying present is an art which must be cultivated with respect and kindness, knowing that the world will always try and pull us away from our heart. The human condition, just like a big cosmic joke, wants us to go and lose ourselves. Only to find the way back home, over and over again.

In Grace,

Antonia Lyons

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