Presence amidst the noise of living
Feet scurrying past. Low whispers in the still ambiance of the library. Minds swirl with a million thoughts racing and trampling over one another. Exhale. Inhale. Will life ever stop, or will I keep living as if trying to navigate the way on a roller coaster? It seems too out of my control.
The to-dos, the worries, the “I must or else's,” the terror, and quarrelling; I must dispel of this angst. But I can’t. And I try and I try but I can’t. So, what can I do, when nothing seems new but everything seems cruel?
I’ll sit, and write, and journal about life.
I’ll stop, and think, and pray to get back in sync with the rhythm of presence. So, I look up, and then, the cycle commences.
Is it not all just one moment?
Do you see you’ve been tricked into thinking it’s about what’s to come, or what’s past, or where you’re going when all it’s really about is where I am, right now: where I’m meant to be. I think life peaks when you realize this.
When you look up from the clicking of keys on your laptop, and laugh. When you start to notice the wind gently fluttering across your arms. When you look into the distance and are able to see the colourful leaves glistening from the sun’s delicate kiss. When you think of people, and your heart brightens your eyes, and ever so slightly turns up the corners of your mouth into a grateful smile. When you think of family, or your people, and your eyes soften, the brown turning golden upon remembering their giggles. When you finally lay down to sleep, and your heart beats steadily, gratefully acknowledging how today you’ve nourished yourself - body and soul. When you feel your breath tickle your lips.
This is bliss.
Living in the moment aligns you with a vibrant energy. It lets you breathe the fresh air. What else could matter if only now existed?
Would the worries of tomorrow be less burdensome? Would the harsh, critical voices of the past be quieted? Would the terror of what lies ahead be reduced to a dim appreciation of my existence, here and now? With this appreciation, everything becomes more real. We talk because we can, we wake up because life is now, it’s the only thing that’s real. We work because it makes us feel good, learn, grow, and discover perspectives that open our eyes. When living out of curiosity, the feeling of being trapped fades.
You let your eyes drift to the blue in the sky. You notice the faint trickling of rain. You cry, you hurt, you let out a sigh. But you realize it doesn’t matter - what’s not in the now. Somehow, it’s clear.
Nothing more matters than the love which we enfold ourselves within, than the gratitude we allow to infiltrate through our everyday lives.
Nothing will stay. Not our sight, nor our agility. Not our awareness, nor our breath. But what stays is what we’ve left behind by living as who we are now. Living with love leaves love to be felt. Living with kindness makes a mark on ourselves and so others. Living in pain is the contract life has to offer; how we bear it is our own will to write. Can living in the present be the presence needed to lift ourselves out of this dark chasm of thought, into a vibrant reality filled with colourful thoughts, into real life?
-- Written by Julianna Gajraj
Julianna is a second year student at the University of Toronto studying Psychology and minoring in math. Her main interest so far is abnormal psychology and recovery methods. She is a co-director of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team at the University of Toronto Mental Health Student Association. As such, she has participated in different initiatives attempting to break the stigma surrounding mental health across UofT campuses alongside her team. She loves spending time with friends and family, whether this is by laughing, going on runs, walks, food dates, or listening to good music with them. Her favourite thing to do is stop in the middle of a busy day and look up to the sky - it usually puts a smile on her face.
Beautiful and inspiring like the author herself.