Presence in Peace

March 21, 2021

It is just over the halfway mark of 2020, and I don’t think anyone could have predicted the turbulence this year could bring. When we read books on dealing with adversity, or the “full catastrophe” of life as Jon Kabat-Zinn calls it, the barrage of challenges this year almost feels like the epitome of instability they are talking about.


While an intense period of change can be stressful in many ways, there are few times when we can see our stress as clearly. We can be quite stressed during our daily lives, but because it has become routine, we don’t tend to register the true tension or exhaustion. When things get shaken up, we get taken out of this framework. What did you learn from this sustained discomfort? When the structure of business as usual was no longer available,how did you step in to make choices to support yourself? When you couldn’t go to the cafés, gyms, and restaurants you like, when you couldn’t see the people you wanted to see, what did you do to make life feel full again?


Whether you took time to rest, or started a new hobby, moved furniture around, changed your spending habits; take some time to reflect and see that you can make good choices for yourself in response to change. Even if we may not have been happy with our productivity or boredom at all times, we had the difficult blessing of interacting with our lives in a more involved way.


As social distancing measures relax in Hong Kong, and our old routines become available again, how can we maintain some greater sense of intentionality in our lives? Will we find we are only fully present when we need to solve or fix something? Or can we be present in smoother times as well?


If we take that sharp attention of decision-making, and direct it to appreciating the periods of calm, what might that be like?