Being in the Moment
I’ve spent a lot of time on the road in the last two months talking about the new book and giving people homework at the end of a reading. The homework is this– BE IN THE MOMENT.
This, I know, sounds like a Hallmark card. This is what we should be doing, right? But in real time, real life, it isn’t always possible.
I was at the gym this morning and ran into a friend in my town who was reading “Perfectly Imperfect.” She said that the chapter on “Mothers and Sons” had made her cry. She has three sons, each of whom is on his way to being a man and she told me that to watch them now, as they move about their lives with their deeper voices and big hands and feet, she often juxtaposes in her head her images of them as little toddlers, needy and clingy, loving and physically demonstrative.
I think there is some valve in all of us that fails and pops open when we become parents— all emtional equilibrium falls apart. We spring a leak. All of a sudden those cheesy AT&T or Mastercard commercials make us weep. We cry at the drop of a hat. We cry just thinking about things that might make us cry.
My friend told me that right now she can’t watch the videos of her children from the past. They make her sad. Some of this is because she realized how absolutely consumed with the business of life she was during some of those fulcrum moments.
She described one video where she is tying the pinanta to a tree for her son’s birthday party and in the background he is repeating over and over that he has something to tell her. It pains her to see herself– continuing on with the pinata tying, focussed on the party, not stopping her action to listen. It makes her feel like she was a less than perfect mother.
And of course we all are. That’s simply the point of life.
And so my homework to you is this– just twice this week– BE IN THE MOMENT. Sometimes for me thats the first cup of coffee with a great froth of milk on top as I warm my hans around the mug before any one is awake. It’s the smell of my twins hair on the morning when I wake them for school. Its the moment on the couch when i hold my husbands hand– before we go upstairs and kick some butt for the bedtime routine.
This kind of focus isn’t possible every single day. But if we can learn to practice it– the way people practice yoga or train for marathons or spend time on the internet– if we can devote just a little slice of our week to this– then I believe we will look back with less regret. And our hearts will swell. Thats the feeling of joy. And joy is a precious commodity in this life.