Pay attention to the present moment.
Ironic that I say this as a writer. A writer doesn’t live in the present while partaking in her craft. She is reflecting quietly on a memory or a fantasy. When writing, it is good to visit the non-present moment. The act of scribing stories relies on pulling your mind out of the present and into the imagination.
Great writers however, pay attention. They recognize writing as a spiritual practice where they become creators. In this practice, the ultimate creator lives through the writer, uses her as a vehicle through her mind and her hands. In this way, she too become a creator. She takes those reflective escapes from the present then returns to practice her creativity.
When I am listening in the present moment, I feel God. I am placing my attention on my intention to appreciate the wonder of life in the wonderment of the world in the exact moment. It’s easiest to do this in spiritual practice — worship, prayer, stretching, meditation, hiking, biking, ectara. It is like suiting up to go in the game. When we practice the things that bring us joy and live in that moment, we can be grateful to God. Each time prayer is mentioned in the bible, it begins with thanks. When we live with gratitude for life and the earth and the galaxy, we can get God’s attention to speak to us.
This is easy in solitude. This is easy in fellowship with like-minded people. It is less accessible in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Day jobs, growing pains, and the logistics of living take up so much space. It is vital to remember to listen in these moments too, to enjoy the ride. These are not things that are separate from our life and purpose. These daily living activities are the opportunities that we find on the business side of life. We can get wrapped up and have mixed emotions about our obligations. It is wise to pay attention and project your purpose into the universe regardless of what activity we are undertaking.
I find that when I neglect to carve out any time to devote to spiritual practice, it is more difficult to recognize God while tackling the everyday task lists. I have a post it note on my desk that I use as tool to sort my day job responsibilities: “Is it urgent? Is it important? Will it take less than five minutes?” I need to remember showing up for my spiritual practice is all these things — urgent, important, and reflectively quick. Showing up for God is also vital to have any fortitude to bring peace into my life during what could be a grueling day. The less I practice listening, the more grueling days I have.
God isn’t just speaking to us, nudging along. He is living in us, and we are vehicles for his work. Whether we believe it or not, we are creating the world we live in, just like God created us. Our words and actions have consequences – some good; some bad – that happens. We are, however, not neutral. Even a tiny pebble creates a ripple. With my confirmation of faith in a loving God, I hope to leave a positive effect on those around me and the greater world. Not to make you believe, but because I decided that this is my best chance at joy in this life. To give thanks, believe in happy endings by ascribing to a benevolent creator, is to know love.
I put this in the universe and know this comes back to me.