While apple picking with my family last month, my 8-year old son shouted, "Where are all the apples?"

I had to laugh as I looked around at shiny, red apples hanging off every tree in sight. It got me thinking about how easy it is to miss seeing what's in clear view.

We often get distracted by thoughts that pull us out of the present moment. 

We may be thinking about the latest news story, what we're having for dinner or how we'll get our kids to start helping us out around the house (I've given up on chore charts).

For most of my life, disconnection from the present moment was my standard mode of operation. In fact, my habitual response of ruminating often prevented me from experiencing joy. 

At the orchard I picked this rare find off the tree.

I couldn't help but wonder how many treasures I'd missed throughout the years and if paying attention was the beginning of a new habit for me—where mindfulness was my new jam.

What can we see when we begin to look around? What signs are out there waiting for us?

My relationship with the Universe has been heating up lately as I meditate more, practice gratitude daily and trust that I'm on the right path.

What I'm learning is:

  • It's easier to be in the moment when things are going well, but a consistent meditation practice helps tame our every day monkey mind.

  • In hard times, being in the present is not about pretending things are different, it's about staying in the sadness, the worry, the fear and finding a way (through prayer, thought or action) to shift our energy to love.

Mindfulness is about breathing in. It's about breathing out.

It's about becoming aware of our thoughts and choosing to hold onto the ones that serve us and let go of the ones that don't.

When we make the powerful choice to stay present, we become fully alive in the wonder of each moment.