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It was maybe my second week at my new job – and I was processing a return of some snow shoes when I realized I knew the person who was on the other side of the counter. I didn’t realize it until I saw their name on my computer screen, but I looked up and said “Heeeey, I think I know you!”.

These chance encounters with people from days gone by have been a welcome benefit of the job. After spending seven plus years living in a remote tech bubble, it is pretty dang cool to reconnect with people like that. This particular encounter has stood out in my mind though, because he is still deep in the tech world. And as I shared my story with him about my past year of burn out and desire for something more – I could sense it really resonated with him.

But he said one thing to me – that at first my ego took as a jab, but I’ve since realized is an amazing compliment. After we established we knew each other, he simply said:

So… you’re here now?

A voice from my past, in the present.

In many ways this person and I shared a very common early path in tech. When we first met, I’d say we were at very similar “stages” of climbing the local tech-scene ladder. I almost took a job at the same company as him, but I opted for a different route in programming – him in systems admin. And outside of hanging out at a few parties over the years, we just kind of drifted into the ether.

And I suppose that is why my ego was quick to take offense to that question – you’re here now? As-in, why are you here perhaps? But I instead took it as an amazing reminder and a compliment really that I am here – in each of those little interactions with customers at REI. Or I’m here when I’m hanging out with my family – playing fetch with Sampson. I’m here now more then I really have been in the past few years.

I recently read a book on the topic of being here, in the present, in the now: You Are Here – Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment and I’ve been actively trying to approach the present moment with more mindfulness on a daily basis. And I’ve used my daily trips to the river as a way to really be here, and be in awe of the little wonders of life.

The trips down to the river really aren’t so much about fishing – while I do love to fish, love the motions of it all – the ritual… it really is more about just being here. Being in nature, being a part of nature, being one with nature. And when you have sunrises like the one above, it is quite easy to be in awe of the here in life.

But I also have started to do a little breathing/greeting of the river each morning. I step up to the bank of the river, I’ll gaze down on my feet, feel connected and grounded… and I’ll take a deep breath.

Breath // Center

Next I will turn to my right, downstream, take another deep breath, and express some gratitude for my past – it is a part of me, I’m thankful for it, and I’ll always allow those experiences to guide me but not distract me from here.

Breathe // Downstream

Then I turn 180 degrees to the left, now facing upstream. Another deep breath, and I express hope for the things to come that day. Each day is a gift, and I’m lucky to be here.

Breathe // Upstream

I then return back to facing the river right at my feet. I take one last deep breath, bring myself back to the here and now… and realize that I’m standing next to a beautiful river, as of late bald eagles have been chirping and flying overhead, and I have a fly rod in my hand, so I guess I might as well fish. ✨😊

Here // On a recent warmer day

I’ve been lucky enough lately to have Becky come join me at the river on a few occasions. She saw me doing this little ritual one day and was confused why I wasn’t wading out into the river 😂 so I briefly explained it to her, but I thought it was worth sharing it here too. Perhaps it will serve as a reminder for future me to be more in the now too – or maybe you can think of a similar way to greet the day, and be here.

Cheers to here. Be kind to yourself ✌️

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