Learning to be mentally present





It has been exactly one week since I got to Kassel, Germany and I could list all the cultural differences I have encountered: from just riding a train to walking on the street. But on this opportunity I would like to highlight something simpler, that we often tend to forget: to enjoy the simplest things in life.

My life, as an immigrant and a New Yorker, moves at a hectic pace. I work in catering for approximately 25 hours per week and I have been taking six classes to not delay my graduation. As many of you, my day-to-day life start as soon as the sun rises and ends very late. Before anybody gets the wrong impression, I would say that I love my life and New York. I am extremely blessed for my job and the opportunity to study. But, at the same time, I always feel absorbed by my routine. I found myself running from one place to another and always thinking about my next task. 

The past days, somehow being in Kassel I have realized that life can be extraordinary when we are mentally present. And don’t get me wrong: thinking about the future and what we have to do in order to achieve our dreams, is good. It is definitely great to have a sense of direction. But we must not let our mind distract us with thoughts of the past or the future. The now, is the only time and space in which we can live. It is only when we start to live consciously, that we can fully experience our surroundings and enjoy what we are doing in that moment.

Being away from home and somewhat disconnected, has helped me think about the way I was living my life. And the first thing that came to my mind was, that I was always worrying about the future. No matter what I was doing, there was some sort of anxiety in my memories. 

A walk around the city 

Having realized that, I went for a walk.  For a strange reason the air was fresher, the leaves seemed greener and I could hear birds singing all day. I took the tram at Berlepschstraße and got off two stations after. After walking for a couple of hours, I sat down in a coffee shop close to Königsplatz and had the best coffee in years. Sitting outside, I contemplated people walking, the sunshine, the rain, children running and felt completely happy.