In our busy, modern lives, we have to rely on our innate automated system more and more each day. From our instincts when we get behind the wheel of a car, to our muscle memory when we unlock our phones, the efficiency of our autonomic nervous system is integral to our daily survival. On average, our hearts beat 70 times per minute. In that same 60-second period, we blink between 10 and 15 times, swallow once, and take up to 20 breaths. Our hearts beat. Our lungs breathe. Our bodies keep us alive.
And most of us barely notice. We just take it all for granted. So much of the world operates without us ever thinking about it. We just expect it to work out in our favor… and most of the time it does. We worry about the future and think about the past. But we hardly ever focus on the present; about what is right in front of us. And in doing this, we so often miss what is right in front of us. We take what’s good and easy and working for granted. Until it’s no longer good and easy and working for us… until we sprain our ankle and can no longer walk, until we get a cold and can no longer breathe, until we have a stroke and can no longer use our dominant hand. It’s normal. It’s part of being human.
But we can do better. I know we can. We can do better for us and for those around us. Because there are tiny, beautiful gifts we are given every day. The breath. The heart beat. The grace. It is up to us to appreciate them to the fullest while we can. In this one precious life, what can you notice to bring you more present; whether the breath, the heart, the perspective? Where can you be more present and more aware of the miracle of all the systems it takes to keep you alive? This life. This, that which we, just by the sheer act of paying attention, can be more present and connected to. This life.