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Being Present

How do you stay present when everything starts looking the same?

On a recent trip rafting down Cataract Canyon in Utah, the cliffs, much like these Grand Canyon cliffs, started to look all the same. I knew that every moment of this trip was very special and I wanted to appreciate the beauty, immensity, and history of these gorgeous rock walls.

Ellen J. Langer, Harvard Professor and author of multiple books on Mindfulness, suggests that we can increase our ability to pay attention and be present by finding the novelty in it. As I flowed past these walls, I started to search for differences in color, texture, and pattern. I looked for wildlife, plants growing from the rocks, and listened for birds – anything that would offer something new to see or hear.

Being present in those six days of the trip was important to me because I knew it would be a long time before I saw such beauty again. Fortunately, this JICT image quickly brings me back there.

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