"It's all happening." This mantra that runs throughout one of my favorite films, Almost Famous, is a delightful invocation to awareness and an exuberant surrender to presence. It's a light-hearted reminder to pay attention and be with what is. The characters in the film say it often, as a greeting and a goodbye, in the midst of a memorable moment, and when things are falling apart. Again and again, they remind each other that it, life, this, everything is all happening.
Last time we were together, my mom reminded me of a centering practice that our mutual teacher and my beloved friend Erin Geesaman Rabke teaches called "Weather Reporting" in which you simply report exactly what you are experiencing in a bodily way at the moment. Unfiltered and unembellished. It's called Weather Reporting because, just as there is no inherent drama in a thunderstorm--it's water and electricity and light and sound--there is no inherent story behind what we are experiencing.
It goes like this:
Sitting on my desk chair, my ankles are crossed and the left toe is touching the carpet. I am chewing on my lower lip and feeling heat and a dull ache in my lower back. Outside, an airplane buzzes by. A fly buzzes against the window inside. I taste the chocolate I ate earlier. I hear the wind chimes tinkle and in the corner of my eye, I see my daughter and her friend twirling, looking at their reflections in the windows. Softening my belly, breath comes in and goes out. The keys on the keyboard go clack clack clack cluck. Another airplane flies by, apparently going the other way.
What's the point, you might ask? Instead of getting involved in the story that each of these observations might inspire (fear about the pain, annoyance at the sounds, guilt about the chocolate, wistfulness about the girls' play, boredom with the writing, and on and on), this kind of straightforward inspection teaches us to become aware of what is happening independent of our opinions, beliefs, imagination, and evaluations.
This is especially helpful to remember when checking in with the news or social media. If I can catch myself for even a minute and just notice what's happening, I can let go of judgement, doubt, vitriol, indignation, and all the other shades of fear that 5 minutes on my phone tends to trigger. For me, it's easier to practice in nature, especially on my paddle board. The invitation is to test it out for yourself somewhere you are at ease. The more you practice, the easier it will be do access when confronted with what triggers you and to remind yourself that "it's all happening."