“Jaambo” to all my readers! I can hardly believe I had the opportunity to visit the amazing land of East Africa last month. This was an experience like no other I have had in my life. By far, the best part of the trip was being on safari – being a voyeur into the lives of hundreds of animals in their own habitat. I remember sitting in a 15-seater plane, flying over the magestic Serengeti, looking down at one of the largest game reserves in Africa, extending from Northern Tanzania to Kenya.
It is an indescribable feeling to watch animals living within their natural environment. There is a sense of peace and calm as the wildebeests gather around the water hole, the giraffes stretch their long legs with a dainty gait, a baby elephant nurses, a sleeping leopard rests a paw off a tree branch. One of the things we know about animals living in a shared enviroment with other animals is that it is all about survival. In order to survive, or should I say thrive, in their environment they must pay attention. They have to take heed to all the signals around them all the time. They must be present to what is happening in the moment – all the time. Without being present, they could lose the opportunity to find food/prey or, rather be the one preyed upon. Without using their natural instincts, they would lose direction during a migration. Without paying attention, they might never learn to be self-sufficient and, in turn, teach their offspring how to survive. Animals must be present to what is before them in order to adapt to life. Humans are no different.
I noticed on my safari that life for the animals is a series of present moments strung together – after all, isn’t that what it should be? Although as humans we are not forced to always be in flight or fight mode from being preyed upon, many of us live in a constant state of stress which can mimick the same response in our bodies. We do this when we spend time analyzing and re-analyzing the past, bringing it into our present day. We do this when we refuse to accept what is. We do this when we resist that people in our lives are anything other than who they are. Why do we do this? Because we don’t have the answers we need. Because we long for something that is “long gone”. Because we identify with some form of ourselves that we miss. Unfortunately, what we really miss are the opportunities that lie before us today. As cliche as it is, we truly only have the present moment. Animals know this on a very raw, visceral level. Their lives depend on it. In many ways, so do ours. **More life lessons from Tanzania on Wednesday!
Deepali’s Piece of Wellness: This week, give yourself permission to be aware of your surroundings and utilize all your senses. Where are your instincts leading you? Can you trust them? Challenge yourself to be present and awake this week.