This morning I woke up and had a pillow epiphany…aptly named as I was wide awake but still in bed, face on pillow, staring out the window at the trees. So I thought I would write about it.
Here it is.
Choosing the Moment.
We have so many sayings like “you only live once” and “be present” and “be in the moment” and “be here now” and “there is only the present” yadda yadda yadda. You know what I’m talking about – it’s all over your Facebook news feed no doubt, in some pretty Instagram photo where someone is working out or climbing a mountain or leaping through a field. Honestly, those images are beginning to remind me of drug commercials. There’s always some random happy person running through a field of daisies and I have no idea what they are selling and finally – some medication appears on the screen. These images of people “being present” and happy and carefree and in the moment…we are flooded with these images and slogans and quotes. I know it’s usually meant to inspire, but it’s honestly false advertising.
Here is what I do know. No one’s life is akin to running through a field of flowers. No ones. I don’t care who you are or how much money you have – your life is not perfect. Unless you literally live IN a field of daisies 365 days a year, I don’t want to hear it. 😉 We all have “things” we are dealing with, working towards, sorting through, striving for…we have “problems” and “issues” and stumbling blocks and bumps in the road. No one has this sunny, float-through-a-field-life… no one.
Traditionally it seems to me that we try to handle this (our lives) one of two ways…we can either inadvertently become swallowed up in the stress of daily life, OR as so many in my news feed on Facebook tell me – we can be present, enjoy the moment, live in the moment, etc.
I kind of…want to call bullshit on both of those scenarios. It occurred to me this morning as I stared out the window into the trees and watched the leaves sway back and forth while my mind was racing… it occurred to me that we CHOOSE which moments we want to be present in. That’s what we are doing. Maybe not all of us…I’ve definitely got some Yoda-like friends who actually have living in the moment-all-the-freaking-time down. Those people do exist.
But I think a lot of us, including myself – we choose moments.
I’m realizing that I selectively live in the moment. I select moments in which to “be in the moment” and embrace the present – and – outside of that, I fight the present with such resistance sometimes that I’ve been literally and mentally projecting myself elsewhere – to another location – thinking, “it will be so different once I finish this, or accomplish this or do this or get this done or achieve this milestone…THEN…things will be great” and then I go on a hike and during the hike with my friends I’m totally in the moment and enjoying the moment. But then I slip back into this zone where I’m constantly working towards something and thinking about the future and giving myself timelines and deadlines and putting all of this pressure on myself to get______
To get there?
But there doesn’t exist. It’s not real. The only thing that is real is that I am here right now, writing this.
Why do we do that to ourselves?
It’s a CHOICE to be in the present moment. We get to choose it. Our minds and souls and bodies are so profound that we actually get to choose. We can go elsewhere mentally if we want. But it’s EXHAUSTING to fight the present moment…to choose not to be in it…and we don’t even realize we are doing it.
We don’t even see that we are refusing to enjoy this present moment by choice.
Refusing to choose our life as it currently is and enjoy it to the fullest, wherever we are.
We can be swallowed up in stress. We can be completely present all the time in a field of daisies. Some of us also deal with stress and problems by projecting ourselves elsewhere into the future and working towards all of these things but then “choose” moments to be present in.
We can wake up one morning and realize that those aren’t the only options. We can see that no one’s life is a blissful perfect moment 365 days of the year. It’s not an Instagram picture with a flower and a quote. We can see that being present means being present in the good times (like fun hikes with friends) and in the bad times (like handling something stressful or painful). We can choose to NOT mentally vacate ourselves and project ourselves into the future. We can choose to stay right here in the present moment and really be here – right now – just taking things as they come. One thing at a time.
Enjoying THIS day. Today. Whatever it is we are doing.
There is nothing wrong with having goals or working towards achievements. Those things are great. But remember to stay here. Don’t just choose moments in which to be fully present and spend the rest of your time mentally elsewhere.
Just be here…enjoy the people around you. Get off the internet. Do things. And while you’re doing all of that, be aware of what you are doing and just be IN it. Be here, in it with me.
People say “you only live once” as though it’s some excuse to go do crazy stuff because hey – “you only live once”…but the truth is – you only live today.
You only live today. You don’t have tomorrow yet or even next week. You don’t. You assume you will because history shows you have a pretty timely schedule of waking up each morning. But you only live today.
Today is not enough time to plan your future, it’s not enough time to fix everyone’s life, it’s not enough time to save the world.
But today is enough.
It’s enough time to enjoy the people you are with. Tell them you love them. Smile. Hug someone. Be happy. Give to someone. Put your feet in the grass. Eat outside. Feel the sun on your face. Write a blog post. Paint. Plant some flowers. Be nice to people. Make dinner for someone.
Today is enough time for that.
Today is enough time for all of the meaningful things in our lives. The little things. It’s the little things that we hold onto when things get tough. We remember a kind word, we remember the way someone smiled at us, we remember how it felt to hug him. Or her. We remember the person who cheered us on. The person who said they believed in us. We remember laughing so hard that we cried. We remember the stranger who gave to us unexpectedly. We remember when we heard, “I love you”.
Today is enough time for everything that’s important and meaningful in our lives.
Don’t choose moments to be present in.
Just be here today.