Embrace the Process
The magic of your life lies in the processes that unfold between the bookends of beginnings and endings. What's awaiting you in the spotlight of your present moment awareness of the process?
Alaska’s unhurried yet just-in-time-sunrise unfurls itself across the wild landscape in beautiful layers. First, a soft blue hue stretches over the horizon like a curtain being pulled on the opening of a prize-winning show. Then, slowly, a striated sky with streaks of pinks and oranges emerges, reflecting itself onto the bay below. A mixture of orangepinkyellow spotlights the very tips of the snowy white mountain peaks that cradle our small coastal town, sliding inch by inch down the mountains until eventually the entire face is soaked in a palette of warm colors.
The sunrise in Seward is one of winter's many gifts, and observing it has encouraged me to reflect on the magic of being with the process of an experience as it unfolds. As well, winter in Alaska has kindled my admiration for the change of seasons and the cyclical movement of nature, especially here where the contrast between day/night, summer/winter are more pronounced than other places I’ve called home. Both observations have spoken their lessons directly at what I often notice in myself: a strong tendency to cling to outcomes and rush the processes underway in my life, whether that be writing a book, cultivating a career path, building community, or developing relationships.
In reflecting I've come to remember and embrace the cliché but critical quote that I once pinned with a magnet to the refrigerator door: life is a journey, not a destination. And like the sunrise, this simple line has expanded into various colors of words that form this piece of writing meant to remind myself, and maybe you too, that there is more to gain along the continuum of time than what the end results of our experiences can offer. The passing of time is a gift to be honored and savored by allowing the present moment to catch your attention and immerse it into the passageway that runs between past and future.
You cannot run in a race toward endings and outcomes if you wish to be baptized in all that makes life meaningful: each passing moment that reveals itself between the bookends of starts and finishes. There is great joy in awareness of the simplicity of each day threaded with the next in the fabric of your life.
Sure, one could argue that outcome is the primary motivation for why we endure any kind of process in the first place. By definition, process is a series of actions we take to achieve an outcome. But here’s what’s important to understand: when the end result is the center of one’s attention, it holds awareness hostage from the process itself, where the real treasure lies.
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Life is to be discovered in layers: unravel, discover; unravel, discover. Conscious awareness throughout this process is what allows one to sink into the depths of each layer, peeling each one back just to find another beneath it. Experience, you see, is in a constant process of revealing itself, and therein lies a choice to either engage with its layers as they arrive or to hastily slice through them in an effort to capture what lies at the center.
To truly embrace and be present in the process, one must humble oneself to patience along the way. Impatience and hurriedness are in direct opposition to the natural progression of something. Forcing a process toward completion stifles life and creation. Whether it’s in a flower blooming, a sunrise spreading over the sky, the development of an idea, the creation of a piece of artwork, or the formation of a business, impatience will suffocate the process which can only evolve on its own timeline. We cannot fully engage with the process of our lives if we show up with an unwillingness to await discovery of the unknown.
There’s a tendency to rush through life in search of the Big Moments we perceive as markers of success, but when broken down a lifetime is simply made of small moments: decades form lifetimes, years form decades, days form years, and small but meaningful moments form days. Joy in life is dependent on one's willingness to be present, and grateful especially, for each one.
The greatest outcomes of your life are merely a culmination of small moments that form a process. Big Moments come last, just as the final thing to grow on a fruit tree is the fruit. Imagine the taste and experience of eating the fruit if you were present and engaged in the entire process that led to its development. Then, compare that to the experience of waking to the present moment only in the instant you seize it from the vine. The fruit of each experience in life is only made meaningful because of the process that led to its development.
Magic is found in the unhurried, slow-yet-steady exploration of life reminiscent of childlike wonder. Whether it’s being present for a sunrise, being in relationship, developing your art, cultivating a garden, building a house, writing a book, consuming a homemade dessert, traveling a long-stretch of road, or merely being a witness to the evolution of your own life: 
honor the process and immerse yourself in the delicate but dense layers as they unfold before you. In the depths of your experiences there are gifts to receive, lessons to learn, insights to steep in, beautiful shades of pinkorangeyellow to wash yourself in, and a vast life to live.

Happy New Year. May you:
Enhance each moment with the magnifying glass of your awareness.
Gather a potent collection of what’s good in your life and steep it into your being until, like tea, you are transformed through the process of infusion.
Give more of yourself to fewer things. The commitment of your presence to those things will nourish you throughout your life.

In three short words and a critical comma:
be here,
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When you are up against a wall, put down roots like a tree, until clarity comes from deeper sources to see over that wall and grow.
– Carl Jung


Samantha Case