Monday, April 4, 2016

D Is for Dwelling



Dwelling in a particular moment is easy to do when that moment is quiet, peaceful, or joyful. It might even prolong the pleasures, and perhaps intensify them, if we were to focus our attention on that moment.

Do we dwell in each moment as it comes our way, though? Do we notice our surroundings, how we are feeling, and pay attention to our body's reactions to what is happening? Or are we too busy while we gulp our coffee, and get breakfast on the table to notice the sunrise outside the window? Are we too consumed with our phones, checking our email notifications and Facebook updates, to hear the voices of our partners or children, missing the things that are most important to them? Are we so caught up in our multi-tasking that we forget to breathe deeply, and enjoy the present for what it is, a precious gift to be enjoyed?

My friend Antonia is writing about "how to establish a meaningful minimum for social media as part of a balanced life." While reading ANTONIA'S BLOG yesterday, I read a line she wrote that hit me hard:


“I am here now, now how much more here can I be?”

We can be physically present without investing much of ourselves emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. Imagine how much more we could enjoy some of our high points, and how much more we could learn from the low ones, if we fully invested ourselves in each moment.

If it is challenging for us to immerse ourselves completely in a time charged with positivity, how much more difficult is it to dwell in the times we perceive to be negative?  What of the anxiety-filled moments; the times it's hard to breathe, or perhaps when we are consumed by grief? What then? Must we dwell in those, too?

There are such important lessons to be learned when we are going through trials. When we are willing to DWELL IN THE DISCOMFORT, as BrenĂ© Brown instructs us, true learning takes place. We discover just how strong we are. We teach ourselves to be patient throughout the seeming chaos long enough to learn the lessons life is presenting to us. 

We will be better people for not avoiding times of discomfort, when it would be so much easier to avoid confrontation, to ignore our bodies' signals, to not speak the truths of our hearts. To truly live and evolve, we have to experience the bad with the good.

I have learned that when I am the most uncomfortable, wishing with all my heart I could squirm out of a tight space in a moment of time, if I can just be still, and ride it out, I will come out of that moment with new knowledge, and new strength. 


So, whether you are experiencing the best day of your life, or one of the toughest yet, try staying right where you are, being aware and focused. Soak it all in. Notice your feelings, your physical response, and be aware of your sensory perceptions. You will be fully able to savor the good stuff, and learn from the tough stuff. 

Dwell in THIS moment, and discover the gifts of the present.



Several of my friends are doing the blogging challenge with me. We have quite a variety in our group. If you enjoy intelligent, witty, thought-provoking writing, trust me; you'll love the way these powerful women write.

The Vast and Inscrutable Imponderabilities of Life by Antonia

Writing the Life Chaotic by Deb

Faith, Hope, Laughter...and Happily Ever After by Laura

Pushing the Bruise by Ros

Creative writing by Valerie


24 comments:

  1. Wow. Ok, I'm going to be a broken record on this repeating over and over again how much I love what you are doing in your series. It is so fun to see me mentioned in your post, but even better is reading in your words of a kindred spirit who is grappling with some of the things I'm facing too. So much good advice in this piece and yes, it is so easy to flee the uncomfortable present rather than feel, face, or speak to what is going on. I truly love this post for your own words (and that gorgeous picture). What a gift this is.

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    1. Thank you for letting me share your words here; they are so powerful. I think we're all trying to tame this social media monster, and if we're not, we're at least considering the part it is playing in our lives. Thank you again.

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  2. I guess it's harder for me to like this because so much of my life has been disappointing to me. I feel like I have to wring every moment of satisfaction out of every good time that happens because I never really know when it's going to happen again.

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    1. Oh, Cynthia, don't feel obligated to like this. You sound like you are successful at dwelling in life's moments already. I could learn from you about wringing the satisfaction out of the good times. You've had more than your share of discomfort. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. My blog posts won't appeal to everyone, and I'm okay with that. Thank you again.

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    2. Oh, but the post is very appealing. I do like it.

      I just find it uncomfortable, and that's a hard place to be in. Some days are like an ill-fitting pair of high heels: you just want to get out of them. Ha!

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  3. I love that you take us to the good, bad and ugly of our lives and invite us to dwell there a bit. You don't have to live in all these, but you do have to stay long enough to see what it has to teach. Sometimes the only thing to learn is patience and knowing that this too, shall pass. Thank you for your words.

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    1. Stella, thank YOU. Yeah, dwelling there until we've found the wisdom waiting for us, and LIVING there because we're paralyzed by the negatively charged moment is different. "This, too, shall pass" is a good mantra for those tough days!

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  4. What an inspiring theme! I'm hooked and would surely be back!

    Hiya! I'm Shalini and I'm on co-host Pam's Unconventional Alliance Team.
    Dropping by to say hi and good luck with the challenge!
    Let's have a rocking April!
    You can read Army Wife Tales at
    Tale Of Two Tomatoes
    Also, visit to take a look at 26 lip-smacking Chicken Recipes at Something's Cooking

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    1. Shalini, thanks for stopping by. I will head over to your blog momentarily. It's nice to "meet you" through the A-Z Challenge.

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  5. Hi Denise. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm a new follower now. Have a good one and when you start painting, give me a holler! :-)

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    1. Ha ha ha! Are you going to help me paint? Or just commiserate with me? Thanks for following!

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  6. Wonderful post, Denise. I've been reading about pain lately--not so much to the point where I think God enjoys messing with us, but more that it does serve a purpose at times. For example, without the ability to feel the sensation of pain on our hand as it reaches across a hot stove, many of us would completely burn our digits off (or maybe it's just me who is that clumsy). I have been wondering if it isn't the same sometimes with the anxiety and grief, the negative moments. Are we being protected somehow then too? In any case, the older I get, the more I realize that my life is fuller if I try to live the breadth of it, come what may. Thanks for giving me these words to ponder this morning.

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    1. Many of us would not recognize that our lives are fuller with joy AND pain. Endless days of sameness, whether good or bad would be lifeless and flat. I appreciate your perspective . Thank you, Crystal.

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  7. How much we miss, of the wonder and the pain, when we retreat into Denial. Some of the kindest comfort I have received has been from people who were experiencing difficulty and physical struggle, and yet because God had been teaching them through it, they reached out to me.

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    1. Denial may serve a purpose temporarily, but as an approach to life, it is detrimental. I, too, have been comforted by those who are suffering themselves. They are some of my heroes.

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  8. Like Cynthia, I am not so keen to dwell where I am right now. I am still present, and dwelling where I am but only because I have no choice. I would like to be dwelling in freedom and independence as I was 3 months ago. However, I am stuck, mired really, in the slog of painful rehabilitation in the hopes of regaining independent mobility and a return to full time LIFE! I know I need to dwell here now to get to where I want to be, but the idea of staying here terrifies me.

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    1. You may feel that you are eternally stuck, but each day, we are noting your progress, no matter how small, as you work your way back to freedom and independence. It is not likely you will be stuck for long, not with your strength and courage!

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  9. Excellent post. I think it's absolutely necessary to dwell on the unpleasant as well as the pleasant. If life were like all the inspirational memes on Facebook, we'd all have quit our jobs to travel the world and money would magically arrive and our families would be perfect and on and on and on. I drafted a letter to the Holstee Manifesto poster on my fridge the other day to argue these points. One line on the poster says, "All emotions are beautiful." I can't argue with that. I look forward to more from you.

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    1. Thanks, Deb. I am off to Google the Holstee Manifesto. All emotions are beautiful? I hadn't thought of it like that.

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    2. Ah, that. I have seen that manifesto all over the place. I like it, overall. Did you take umbrage with each point? ;-)

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  10. "All emotions are beautiful." Sigh. To some degree, indeed they are. Denise, this is a lesson I've been hearing--and fighting, like I do--for some time. All of the gurus I've actually learned things from say this. Sit with the feeling. Look at it. Welcome it. Talk to it. Listen to it. Serve it coffee or tea. And when I practice this, I know it to be true. But old grooves run deep, and it's so easy to slip back into them. I find it a continual process of frequent reminders-to-self.

    For those bad moments that we don't necessarily want to be present in, I often call to mind the scene from the movie, "Out of Africa," in which Karin (Meryl Streep's character) says, “When it gets so bad that I think I can't go on, I try to make it worse. And when I'm certain that I can't stand it, I go one moment more…and then I know I can bear anything.” Talk about being present in the moment! Talk about "teach[ing] ourselves to be patient." Sigh. Working on it.

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    1. We are all works in progress. Thank you for sharing that quote from the movie. It's been a long time since I've seen it. Ros, thank you for your in-depth comments whenever you visit. You help me think things through a little farther. Further? Oh, I get nervous with you English specialists. ;-)

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