“Don’t waste this moment by wanting it to be over.”
We were all in a deep yoga stretch. Deep enough to be uncomfortable when the instructor said those words. It took me by surprise because I realized that I was definitely wasting the moment. I was throwing it away as if it was trash.
I wanted it to be over. I was uncomfortable. I was thinking about what I would do after class. I was wondering what I would have for lunch. I was not treasuring the moment.
How many moments do we all have in this world? We have no idea, and there is no way to find out. We enter by one door and leave by the next.
So on the journey through what we call our life, how many moments do we value by doing only one thing. Being there. Present.
Multi tasking is something we sometimes have to do. But, not all the time. Sure, we have moments we tell ourselves we will be present, like our daily meditations.
But what about all the rest of the day? Moments that could only be about what is happening right then. That moment of a stretch, of watering the garden, of being on a phone call, listening.
Honoring the gift of time.
Instead of trashing the moment by thinking of the next, we could treasure it.
I did that at least once in my life.
My daughter was just a few years old. We had a tiny piece of grass in front of the house, or half a house, we were renting in Venice, CA. I was lying on the lawn drinking in the sight of her. She was engrossed in looking at one grass blade at a time.
To me, she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I wanted that moment to last forever. So I decided to take a picture. Not on a camera. In my head.
And here we are forty five years later, and I can still see her sitting there.
Her blond hair curling in the sunshine, the white top she had on. The fence I kept fixing that went around the tiny yard. The red house, the alley, the empty lot across the courtyard.
And the perfect little girl admiring a blade of grass.
Yes, I have many other moments that have become snapshot pictures in my life. In fact, I have mental albums of them. But, that was the first time I was entirely conscious of the fact that I could choose to remember a moment on purpose.
It is the memory of that precious moment that reminds me to do it more often.
Even in yoga class, when it is uncomfortable, and I have errands to run. Even then.
Let’s keep, honor, treasure and live in each moment. We don’t know how many more we might have.
Ordinary moments seem to fill our days.
However, when they are gone, we realize they were profound. Beautiful. Sweet. Sometimes painful. Always important.
As in all things, it is a practice.
It is the practice of stopping to listen. The practice of being present to whatever is happening. Not judging it; observing it.
And once in awhile don’t use your camera to take a picture.
I watched a video of family singing happy birthday to the birthday boy. It was beautiful. But more than one person was taking videos and pictures on their cell phone. Watching real life on a tiny screen.
Not present in the moment.
Take a mental picture or video instead. I promise you, it will last longer, and you don’t have to search for it. It is always there to be treasured again and again.
Somewhere in each moment, there is a gift. But we have to be present to receive it.