Noticing rock formations

The new year is here, cold and crisp, with short days almost anywhere in the northern hemisphere.  The holidays are behind us - for better of for worse and the future, as always, is unknowable. Stay with the present: today, this week, this month.   It's a good time to get away, even if it's for a piece of the day.  For the inward traveler it's always about the journey and less about the destination, to paraphrase Confucius. 

Leaving the season and weather aside, the point of this blog is that the present is all that is available for experiencing anything.  Even if the past and future seem bleak the "now" can hold meaning and pleasure. Remember to set an attitude for your experience.  What is good about today?  What works just the way it is?  What are you grateful for and do you currently appreciate?  What do you see that pleases you or your senses? At this moment, why are you glad to be alive?  If you catch yourself thinking "yes, but . . . " you've strayed from your experience.

Do you have a spare hour today or tomorrow?  Take your positive mindset and focus your attention on a new aspect of a familiar situation.  "It's the same activity, but picking a different viewpoint changes your experience," according to Brian Klemmer author of The Compassionate Samurai: Being Extraordinary in an Ordinary World.  

For example, this morning on my usual hike, which can sometimes seem routine, my intention was to notice rock formations - of course, not to the exclusion of anything else that might be interesting.  Still, focusing in a different way promised a new experience.  It really did change what I attended to and how I saw things. It didn't take long to get sidetracked to Stonehenge and Druid rituals, thoughts that took me away from the present.  As in meditation, I guided myself back to the rocks along my current path.

Now consider broadening the "now" mindset to a day trip, weekend jaunt or even a week vacation. This time of year takes advantage of amazing travel bargains. Consider a weeklong cruise - the prices are incredibly low right now.  More about cruising in the next blog.