Be Here Now

A few weeks ago, I had just enjoyed another amazing meal (best sandwich in Milwaukee!) at Cloud Red when I asked for the check and was handed a tray with the bill on it and a simple flat stone with the words “be here now” written on it. I smiled, rushed back to my table of family and friends and shared the gift I just saw. You see…we had just been talking about living in the moment. Not letting the ‘what’s next’ get in the way of the present moment. How do we live, mindful of the future, without losing touch of our breath, our ‘right now?’

Several years ago, I started to lead the Milwaukee Jewish Day School’s 8th grade trip to Israel. Within the first 48 hours, I was inundated with endless ‘what’s next’, ‘when’s lunch/dinner’ and ‘what should I’ questions. Then it hit me. These awesome students were so used to living a planned life, a schedule that was so set, so regulated, that when they left it, they needed structure to make them feel whole. It was that night that I borrowed the phrase ‘be here now.’ I sat down with my students and shared that every night after dinner I’d provide them with the list they needed for the next day. I promised that they would be fed (often), cared for, would have enough bathroom breaks and should just enjoy the moment they are in. What I saw at first was complete confusion. They just didn’t understand why this was so important.  I asked them to give me 48 hours in this mode. I encouraged them to try this for two days and two nights to just see how it felt.

What happened next was something to behold. They started to enjoy the moment. They were more relaxed and even remembered what they did, where they were and even lessons learned. It’s now 11 years later and the first topic for the first meeting about our next Israel Trip is “Be Here Now.”

My daughter Cydny and I leave for Nepal to trek to Everest Base Camp in just about six months. We will be writing more about it in the months ahead. I’ll share our gear list and the fun it will be gathering it all, the amazing vendors who will be sponsoring our trip and what our journey through preparation looks like. Be on the lookout - we plan on fundraising in support of the Juniper Fund ( and we will be asking you to join us in this effort. 

At 5,000 ft, we will feel different. There is less oxygen in the air we’re used to breathing. At 10,000 ft, we will need time to acclimate. At 18,000 ft … we will let you know. We’ll be there…then!

Meghan MartinYellow Wood