Being Present

STAFF POST BY: McNair program assistant – Kim Whitney

It’s been almost a whole year that I’ve been with McNair.  Over the course of that year there have been many conversations with Lynn or the scholars about being present in the moment…being mindful of what is happening now, not focusing on what happened yesterday or what will happen tomorrow.  In doing that, I have found a new respect for the beauty that surrounds us and wanting to share that beauty with others.

I have always appreciated the beauty of nature and have a hidden passion for taking pictures.  I’m not the photographer that can stage people and capture something stunning, but I love maneuvering on the ground to get in just the right position to catch the sun through the branches of trees.  If you were to look through my pictures on Facebook, you will see that I am constantly taking pictures of the things around me.  I am constantly trying to capture that elusive shot to showcase the beauty of things as I see it through my eyes.

There are many times throughout the day that I wish I had my camera with me so I could stop to capture a shot.  I catch a glimpse of something that I perceive as beautiful or picturesque.  On my way to work each day I pass two houses with newborn foals.  Just down the road there is a tree that stands tall and forlorn in a field of beans.  I may see a doe and her fawn in the field or be witness to the sun rising in the morning.  It could be some architectural detail on a building on campus or just some random thing that catches my eye.

I have realized that capturing that one great shot fills me with a rush of excitement, happiness and optimism.  Hold on a second, let me rephrase that.  The action of taking pictures, just trying to capture a great shot, fills me with excitement, happiness and optimism.  I feel tuned in and content with my place in the universe.  It is almost like a drug. Isn’t that how life should be?

Shouldn’t life be like a drug? I want to be high on life!

I want to be present in the moment more often.  I know it’s not practical to expect every moment of the day to bring you joy or be filled with beauty, but I think maybe if we slow down and start taking notice of some of the little moments we may find those little pieces are enough to sustain us when maybe there isn’t joy or beauty.

I think we may find ourselves becoming more optimistic because we will realize that every day is filled with lots of great moments.  Maybe it’s just a smile from a random stranger, hitting green lights when you’re running late, someone holding a door open for you, a great cup of coffee, a compliment from a friend, a decent grade on a quiz you thought you did lousy on or just a simple “like” on a Facebook status.

So even though what I perceive as beautiful may not be the next person’s idea of beauty, I’m going to keep on viewing life as if I have my camera pressed up to my face.  I’m going to keep on trying to capture that elusive photo for others to enjoy because that means I’m taking time to be present in the moment and being high on life.

Kim Whitney

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