This morning, I was rushed. I was pressed for time and feeling frantic energy to get all of my errands done in the short hour I had allotted for them. I was consumed with my to do list and rushed out of the house. I started up the car and drove mindlessly to my destination. I hurried down the street and found a parking spot. I turned off the car, grabbed my papers and hastily rushed to the sidewalk and up the stairs. As I quickly walked away, I turned and pointed the keys at the car from a distance and until I heard a beep. I readjusted my pocketbook on my shoulder and gazed at the list before me.
Okay, first stop. Get the form, fill it out and hand over the check. Get the form, fill it out, check. Form, check, form, check. Room 214, form, check, form check.” I said silently as I swiftly cut through the parking lot. I threw open the door and breezed down the stairs.
I flung open the door to room 214, walked over to the desk and said, “Good morning, I need a filing form.”
“Oh sure,” a short woman with dull brown hair said as she made her way to a file on a cabinet.
“Yes,” I said.
“You are all set, we took care of your form and I’ll have that filed for you today,” she said and smiled.
Surprised, I replied, “Oh, thank you.” I pulled out the check and handed it to her.
“Yup, you are set. Enjoy your day.”
“Thanks,” I said, relieved, and turned to the door.
I hurried out and barreled down the hall. I pulled out my list and made a check mark. I read the next item and noticed a woman blocking the exit door up ahead. I looked up, smiled and hoped she’d move because I was in a rush.
She moved to the side, smiled and said, “Are you here?”
Taken aback with one foot out of the door, I replied, “Huh?”
“Are you here? Work?” she repeated.
“No,” I said and pushed on my way.
I got up the stairs and her words rang in my ears, are you here? I realized that I was right to answer no because I wasn’t. I was so caught up in what I was going to do in the next moment that I totally skipped over this one. I caught myself on auto-pilot, totally disconnected.
“Why did I say no,” I thought. “I wonder what “work,” meant. I shouldn’t have stopped and asked how I could help. Why did I say no?”
I turned the gold doorknob, and walked through the open door. As I made my way to the car, I noticed how beautiful the day was; the sun was shining down through the newly turned trees; golds, reds, yellows, and oranges amidst the green. A gentle breeze blew by. I felt the cool fall air on my skin and smelled the scent of freshly cut grass and earth, and heard the chirping birds singing their morning songs. I realized how I rushed away my morning and didn’t even remember the ride there. I didn’t notice what a beautiful fall day it was and felt consumed by stress, worrying about what came next. I realized that I had totally missed out on a part of my life that I could never get back. I stopped walking and paused. I took a deep breath and thought, “Are you here?”
I looked around me, being mindful, using my senses to take in the fullness and beauty of that moment. Fully aware of my surroundings, I got in the car and put my to do list on the passenger seat. I closed my eyes and took three deep breaths. I gently opened my eyes and smiled as I started the car. The frantic energy passed and a sense of ease washed over me. My list didn’t seem so overwhelming anymore as I made an easy plan to get the rest of it done.
“Are you here?” I asked.
“I am,” I said as I drove away with presence and ease.