Gratitude for the Now

Emily Dickinson said, “Forever is composed of nows.”


What is your reaction to this statement?  Do you live in the moment?  Are you mired in the past or worrying about the future?



I’ve learned a valuable lesson about the moment from photography. If  I want a good sky shot I better run outside with my camera the very instant I see the right light or a unique event in the sky. Sometimes, even when I do that, the moment is gone.  It’s fleeting, now is, think about it.


It’s incredible, phenomenal, and completely astonishing to consider that we live on a small blue planet suspended in space.  Thanks to gravity we aren’t flying off into orbit.  Well, actually, a lot of us are  flying around in our own orbits, aren’t we?  We expect things to stay the same and we resist change. When life throws a curveball we’re shocked.  Why?


We forget.  We forget that we are made of swirling molecules.  We are fragile.  We are here today and gone tomorrow.  So what matters?  What are your priorities?  Are the ways in which you choose to spend your time a reflection of your priorities?


As much as I like to think that I live in the now, I don’t really.


This morning I went with my husband, my youngest daughter and my two favorite neighbors to pick pears, apples and grapes from a friend’s abundant orchard.  I could hear the creek rushing by in the background but I couldn’t see it.  I meant to bring my camera but I forgot it.  (I hate when that happens!)  There were many beautiful harvest photo opportunities that I missed but nonetheless it was a perfect day for picking fruit.  In the afternoon and well into the evening we canned grape jelly and grape juice. The pears won’t need to be canned but the apples will be canned for pies.


Today I’m lucky to have family, friends and organic fruit.  I’m grateful that my back injury is improving enough that I could pick the fruit and carry the boxes and ladders.  I’m really lucky I have a husband who likes to can. How awesome is that?  Remembering to focus on the things I’m grateful for keeps me in the now.


What keeps you in the now?  What are you grateful for today?



  1. Pam on October 10, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    What keeps me in the now? The feeling of the breath in my nose. The eyelashes of my baby boy. Watching my daughter transition towards womanhood before my very eyes. I feel if I blink once I’ll miss it.

    What am I grateful for today? The way my husband looks in linen pants. Trampolines. A boss that only occasionally says no. Conflict resolution. A sister’s ability to be vulnerable. Loran’s Heart.

    • Loran Hills on October 10, 2011 at 10:56 pm

      Children most definitely help us stay present in the now! They are naturally living in the moment.

      I love your gratitude list.

  2. Sara on October 11, 2011 at 11:07 am

    This reminds me of the end of Six Feet Under. Claire is taking a picture of her family, and Nate says, over her shoulder, “You can’t take a picture of this, it’s already gone.” I love photography, but know that I have to savor the moment when it happens rather than always trying to capture it to “savor it later”.

    How do I stay in the now? Generally I don’t, except for two things: being really present in nature, like a spectacular sunset or a flower that is catching the light just so. These are so fleeting they force me to be present for them. They only happen quite that way just the one time. The other time is dancing. It feels as though it transcends time altogether, but there is no past or future, there is just my body moving with the music. Even if I know the tune, I am not anticipating the next beat, I’m savoring the current one.

    • Loran Hills on October 11, 2011 at 11:28 am

      The end of Six Feet Under was the all time best finale ever! It’s so true, it is already gone. Every moment. One by one.

      I believe the arts help us stay present, dance, music, drawing, writing, all of it works as a channel to the Divine. When we are connected to Spirit then it’s easier to be in the Now.

  3. Leila on October 11, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Children yes!
    Laughter yes please!
    Touch – massage, cuddles.
    Body work – exercise, dance, whatever you like.
    Meditation – yummm.
    Theatre – awakens, creates focused attention!

    Lovely question Loran!!!


    • Loran Hills on October 11, 2011 at 5:41 pm

      More silliness too! you know, like rainbow pompom cheers….

  4. Ellie Di on October 12, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I *just* wrote about this very thing in my newsletter this week, albeit from a standpoint of being grateful for the sads. I’ve discovered the miracle of being thankful for each moment, not just the ones that have gone my way, and it’s been such a revelation. Being mindful and present in each moment gives us the full blast of how amazing our lives truly are, even when they’re sucky. I’ve been trying to pause, just for a second, whenever something happens that snags my attention so I can say a little bit of thanks to the universe. It’s brought a new dimension of depth to my day-to-day life that I’m only just starting to understand.

    • Loran Hills on October 12, 2011 at 3:36 pm

      Ellie, being grateful for the sucky things is an even better practice than being grateful for good things! Life really is amazing.

  5. Marla @ Your Full Plate on October 13, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    My five senses keep in the now better than anything else. If I ever get too far off into my own worries, I am able to get squarely back to the present by focusing on the taste of a delicious piece of food, the smell of the air outside, the sound of awesome music.

    I am grateful for my healthy body, my incredible fiance, my blog, and all the love that is always available to me whenever I open myself up to it.

  6. Karen on October 15, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Even as I was reading the above messages, I was thinking, “If I should reply, what would I say!” Then I would consciously excuse that from my thinking and concentrate on the now – what I was reading and better understanding what the author was saying. Living in the “now” is a lifelong passage, but well worth the ride. Since moving to Maine and living in the woods, I have paused often at nature and enjoyed the moment. I often wonder if the Mainers see the beautiful fall colors the newcomers see, as we see them thru child-like eyes. The spirit truly is present in us when we allow ourselves to blend with nature!

    • Loran Hills on October 15, 2011 at 9:39 am

      Child-like wonder is the best “tool” for appreciating nature, and life! Miss you Karen!

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