These days with all its hustle and bustle it can be easy to forget to live in the now, the moment, the present. There seems to be so much to do all the time. It can be tempting to put off enjoying the little pleasures each day offers, saying one will enjoy them when annual leave (if taken) rolls around or retirement arrives.
Some years back I was working full time in a demanding job and I was also a carer. Then circumstances changed and I resigned so I could devote my time to my caring role. That year there were lots of birds, mainly honeyeaters, in my back yard. I was amazed at how many there were. Had they always been there but I hadn’t had time to stop and see them? I also noticed how many flowers there were in the garden. Yes, I stopped to smell the roses, and the lavender too. I also took the time to pick flowers and bring them into the house so I could enjoy their beauty and fragrance when I was inside.
With more time at home (and less money) I spent more time cooking and found I was enjoying making home made soups instead of opening a tin. Using my bread maker was satisfying and the smell of baking bread warmed the house through the winter. I found I was living in the present moment and so much more aware of the everyday joys around me. I think D.H. Lawrence expressed it well when he wrote, ‘I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred orange and scrub the floor.’ Okay, I don’t know about scrubbing the floor cheering me up but I agree with the general sentiment.
Every day there are things to appreciate in the now, if only we make the effort.to notice them. Today I appreciated the sunshine after a few days of grey skies. I enjoyed listening to the sound of frogs croaking and the smell of the gum leaves as I took my dog for a walk by the river. I commented on the lovely weather to one person I saw and the response was, ‘It’s going to rain all next week.’ I thought the beautiful weather was wasted on this person who was thinking about the future when it would be wet rather than enjoying the sunshine of the moment.
Later I caught a train and sat opposite a young boy travelling with his dad. The lad smiled, said ‘Hello’ and chatted to me and his father about the things he could see out the window. He was a delightful child, full of enthusiasm about going on the train. He was definitely living in the now.
How do we live more in the moment? What can we do right now? Here are suggestions which may help.
• Take notice of the sunshine or the gentle breeze
• Watch the sunset or sunrise
• Pick a few flowers from the garden and put them in a vase, even if it’s just a small bunch of short stemmed flowers and greenery or some herbs
• Pick a leaf from a gum tree, lavender bush, mint plant or other scented plant and rub the leaf between your fingers and enjoy the scent
• Take note of the different species of birds in your environment and watch them for a few minutes
• Drink your cuppa slowly and take notice of how good it tastes
• Really enjoy that hot shower or bath
• Listen to music you enjoy
• Make positive comments to people around you
• Smile at people or take a risk and say hello to people you meet when you are out walking
Did you notice these activities don’t cost money? Also, they don’t really take much time as some of the activities you do anyway but you may not be conscious of enjoying the moment. It’s more a matter of being aware of what you are doing and of the world around you.
For busy people with a full schedule it can take concentrated effort to start living in the now. However, it is worth the effort as it leads to living a more fulfilling life, right now and will bring benefits both physically and psychologically. Buddha said, ‘The secret for health of both the mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.’