Yesterday I returned from a camping trip with middle and high school Girl Scouts. I love these trips because I get to know the girls better, I get to hang out with other women crazy enough to spend their weekend with teenage girls, and I get to see the girls learn and grow. We all come home dirty, exhausted, and happy. I never feel quite so mentally at peace as I do on the drive home. Last night, I sat down with my meditation for the day, and I realized why.
“When we stop living in the here and now, our problems become magnified unreasonably.”
Basic Text, p.96
“Just for today” – it’s a comforting thought. If we try to live in the past, we may find ourselves torn by painful, disquieting memories. The lessons of our using are not the teachers we seek for recovery. Living in tomorrow means moving in with fear.
We cannot see the shape of the secret future, and uncertainty brings worry. Our lives look overwhelming when we lose the focus of today.
Living in the moment offers freedom. In this moment, we know that we are safe. We are not using, and we have everything we need. What’s more, life is happening in the here and now. The past is gone and the future has yet to arrive; our worrying won’t change any of it. Today, we can enjoy our recovery, this very minute.
Just for today: I will stay in the here and now. Today – this moment – I am free.
From the moment we arrive at camp, I feel the weight lifted. There is no time to worry about yesterday or tomorrow. Camp life takes my full attention, therefore I am completely in the moment. I am free to enjoy the beautiful setting. I usually have my camera out, capturing memories for my girls and myself. I do not own a smart phone, so I am not connected to the world outside of camp. I like it that way, in fact my girls aren’t allowed to bring theirs either. In this super-connected world, they need some peaceful, “in the moment” time too. They have to interact with each other face to face, without the aid of electronics, without the pressures of media, without the stress that being teen girls can often bring. It is good for them, it is good for me. (Really need to do this more often!)
This weekend, my meditation was watching one girl from another troop, as she attempted climbing the 55ft tall Phoenix Tower. This child was new to her troop, and her interactions seemed a bit awkward with troopmates. Early in the morning, I found myself hoping this girl would have an amazing experience. The first challenge we came to was the tower. I watched her, completely in the moment, as she started to climb. She got to the first level and couldn’t figure out how to get over the beam. The facilitators gave suggestions, she chose one to follow and pushed on. Up to the next level, where she seemed to get stuck again. Again, she listened to those with experience and pushed on. This went on until she reached the platform on top and struggled to pull herself up on it and stand. The look on her face was priceless! Her troopmates, my girls, and I were all cheering for her at this point. I’m not sure she even heard us. The beaming smile on her face was completely HERS, and coming from inside. This was HER “in the moment”.
As we prepared to leave yesterday morning, we circled up and went around the circle telling our favorite activities or memories from the trip. When it was my turn, I turned to this girl, looked her in the eye, and told the group, “My favorite memory of this weekend was watching T climb the Phoenix tower. I loved your determination when you started. I admired your ability to take direction to help you overcome the times you got stuck. You showed such perseverance when you kept moving until you were on the top. Your smile from up there was my favorite memory of this weekend.” And that smile just BEAMED back at me as I spoke.
When I am completely in the here and now, I am free to enjoy these moments. I can also learn so much when my mind is free from worries of the past or future. These girls have been a big part of my recovery. This weekend, a 12-year-old reinforced my belief that with a little determination, some help from people with experience, and perseverance, even the most awkward of us can do what we set out to do.
Today – this moment- I am free. It feels good.