Most of us move through life focusing on the next meeting, social event, social media, celebrity dramas, or personal baggage, that we forget to soak up the magic of the moments we are in. To quote Kierkegaard: “the highest and most beautiful things in life are not heard about, nor read about, nor seen but, if one will, are to be lived.” Too often we are so caught up in the lives or dramas projected onto us by the media that we don’t stop and see the true blessings in our own lives and the irreplaceable moments that can pass us by without us even knowing. We must challenge ourselves to simply be present, our overall happiness depends on it.
We loose site of the marvels that surround us. Being a father who works away from home for a week at a time has made me cherish the precious moments I spend with my wife and son. The magical look on his face when he learns something new. The sound of his laughter when my wife or I do something funny. Or better yet when he does something he thinks is funny. Those precious little moments that can never be relived. We have all had those moments, it is my belief that it is in these moments that we truly connect with ourselves, our surroundings and the people in the moment with us. Take bath time for instance, it is one of my favorite times with Augustus, he loves to splash, blow bubbles and, make a mess. we take turns pouring water on each other’s heads, although only one of us is in the tub, he doesn’t seem to mind getting daddy all wet! In those particular moments I find that I can totally focus on the fun that we are having. leaving all thoughts of the day, tomorrow or even next week, even my phone or any other device. that exact moment is the only place on earth I want to be.
Most of our time is spent in the past or future but not the present. According to this Harvard University study, half of our waking hours are spent NOT living in the moment. That’s crazy!! Whats more fascinating is how closely this is connected to our level of happiness!(See this article for more!) How our thoughts interfere with our ability to be present in the moment reminds me of the “piece of candy” clip from family guy with James Woods satisfied with the first thought momentarily, but soon intrigued by the next one that enters.
There is a vast amount of information on the internet on this topic! It is actually impressive how much research goes into it. Just Google “being present in the moment”, better yet click here. It is quite obvious that everyone is affected by this, the question then becomes. What will you do about it? I have watched my son grow an insane amount in the 1.5 years he has spent on this planet, if I could I would strap a Gopro to his head and mine and record everything! but the truth of the matter is that we can’t. fortunately there are ways we can help ourselves get better at being in the moment, or simply stop and smell the roses. The article 5 steps for being present by Micheal J Formica has some really good tips. They are:
- Take a breath
- Ask yourself “what am I doing right now?”
- Be a witness
- Let the rest go
- Come back to breath
For a more in depth look, go to the link above. I particularly like point number 3. Let the rest go. In Tim Ferriss’s new book “Tools of Titans” (which I highly recommend!) in the interview with Seth Godin, he speaks about putting away your devices for at least 2 hours every night and spending time with your family. I think there is a lot of merit in that and something that every parent should practice and take pride in. Our children grow up to be a product of how they were raised. think of the phrase “actions speak louder than words”, let that resonate within you for a second. Being accountable to your child/children is a duty and a privilege every parent should take very seriously, your children will remember if you the times you teach, play and/or read to them. They will also very much remember if you did none of those things! So give them the gift of your presence, and when you are there with them, be fully there with them!
Photo by: December Photography