What you need to know right now…

What you need to know right now... by Keri Kettle

I find myself constantly asking the teenagers I  know where they want to go to college, what they want to be when they grow up – they look so on the cusp of adulthood and I am so excited for the adventures they are going to have that I forget to ask what is happening in their lives right now.  Even as I can’t believe how quickly they are growing up, I find myself focused more on where they are going then where they are right now.

I do this with my own life, too.  I spend so much time planning, researching, and figuring out where I am going, that I sometimes forget to stop, breathe and notice where I am now.

Staying present to this moment feels like a struggle most days.  Sometimes I wonder if I should wear a rubber band on my wrist like I did when I wanted to stop chewing my nails in seventh grade.  Then I could snap it every time I catch my mind heading on a rabbit trail of planning, which is really just a busy person’s word for anxiety.  But I keep thinking that staying in the moment should be easier – and not involve inflicting pain on myself.

I find that it is easier to be kind to others than it is to be kind to myself, most days.  What if I start with the kids?

What if instead of asking them where they want to go to college or what they want to be when they grow up, I start asking them about their now?  Not how their day went – teenagers rarely give you more than an “okay” to that question, anyway.  What if I start asking how are you right now, this minute?  What is on your mind?  And then what if I actually listened? Even if it’s a long story about gerbils or video games or why the words cough and dough don’t rhyme.

If I take this a step further, and manage to try the path of kind mindfulness on myself – what if I stop answering “how are you?” with “busy”, “tired”, or the ultimate lame answer “fine”?  Maybe it’s time to shake each other in to the moment by telling the truth of our now.  My moment might be great, if I’m sitting outside sipping a glass of wine.  My moment might be overwhelmed, if I’m staring at a too-long to-do list.  My moment might be one of laughter, grieving, or any number of real and true emotions.  It might even just be fine, which isn’t nearly so lame if I’ve actually taken the time to tell it from a place of thoughtfulness instead of an auto-response.

What if we start asking “how are you?” and actually stopped to listen to the answer?  It feels like the kind of tiny revolution that could change the world.

So, how are you?  Really, I want to know.

Please share your thoughts.