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  • Writer's pictureEve Bernfeld

I'd Rather Be Here Now

two turtles
turtles not "turtling"* (photo by the author)

The other day I was walking at Smith and Bybee Lakes next to my son. It was a gorgeous day—warm enough for a thick hoodie and scarf, rather than a coat. He was chattering to me about math games and school friends and I confess my mind wandered a bit…

Wouldn’t it be fun to take a bike tour of Scotland someday? Ooh! Imagine the tea and the beautiful country… (I’m an escape artist from way back.)

But then I remembered the bumper sticker I saw last week, “I’d Rather Be Here Now.” And my brain, with a sound like a record scratching, wrenched back to the present—the sunlight, the mossy path, the Osoberry bushes putting out their first bright green leaves. And this precious human beside me—only seven for two more months. It was a delightful walk.

My Alexander Technique teacher, Rebecca Robbins, says she was always attracted to Ram Dass’s suggestion to “Be Here Now,” but she puzzled over how? Until she found the Alexander Technique. A set of tools for just that—wrenching ourselves out of the past, out of the future, to this very now.

Let’s try it:

Stop. C’mon, pause for just a moment. Say “no” to your eyes scanning ahead in this blog.

Look up and See what’s around you—even if it is not Osoberry bushes.

Let your breath out, so it can come back in.

Let yourself “lighten up,” figuratively (do I need to be so intense right now?) and literally (do I need to be hunching my shoulders and turtling* my head?)

Repeat as necessary. Alexander Technique is, of course, not the only way to “be here now” but it is a pretty darn good one.

*”turtling” is a new verb invented by one of my students for the habit so many of us have of jamming our heads down toward our shoulders—turtle-like.

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