Monday, July 17, 2017

Living in the Moment

Just before moving to Japan I had a finely tuned sense of living in the moment. In my comfortable bubble of Jackson, I was easily able to relax into moments and grasp them for all they were worth in the time leading up to my departure. 

But, as much as I wanted to, during my first several weeks and months in Japan, I couldn't quite allow myself to just be in the moment very often. Not being able to do this devastated me.

Was my heart really that closed? Was I truly wishing I wasn't here? Was I losing my ability to live in the moment that I was so proud of?  

Then I realized that it takes a fair amount of comfort to be able to live in the moment. During my first weeks and months in Japan, I couldn't just walk to school on auto-pilot. Cars were driving on the opposite side of the road, bikes were wizing past without alerting of their presence, there were people with dogs, students, and street lights to look out for. All these things were foreign to me, and I had to pay attention as to not get run over! I couldn't relax into the moment, I was truly in survival mode. 

In the teachers office, tons of stimulation was going on around me. Conversations could be heard in each ear, students could pop up behind me at any moment. While teaching, I had to stay on top of the lesson. Had to constantly be thinking of what came next. As I wasn't super comfortable in my surroundings so I had to keep in control.

But after months and months to get acclimated, my last several weeks in Japan have been dedicated to living in the moment. As I know my experience is fleeting, I'v been able to stay fully alert and feel bliss in moments that had otherwise turned into routine. With my continued comfort in my city, this has become easier and easier to do. In my last week of teaching I captured all the genuine smiles on my students' faces as I told them how much I'd enjoyed teaching them. As I sit behind girls on the bus I appreciate the beauty of their long, smooth jet black hair. I smile to myself as I see groups of boys joke with each other while taking their break in the hallway. I observe with all my senses the downtown, full of life. In these final weeks, I'm collecting moments. And they are making me so rich.