Accepting the Moment (Or How to Ride Those Waves Like a Pro)
These past weeks have been challenging. At times, down right exhausting — both in body and spirit.
A new role at work finds me taking on more, spending most days in meetings navigating through politics, egos and an unyielding charge to work minor miracles. Bookend that with a commute that can find me in the car for nearly four hours a day. And at the end of it all, finding the energy to take on my most important role of being a husband and dad — rolling with all that comes with running a home and family.
This is not a plea for sympathy. In fact, I’m quite sure my situation is not unique at all. We’ve all walked a mile (or three) in these shoes.
I write this to let you know that you’re not alone, hoping you’ll find a bit of solace and peace knowing that we are working through such things ‘together’. While the details and specifics might be different, the general experiences are not. We’re all human — and in that most basic of ways we share in that Human Experience.
I share my own situation because I am using it as a way to learn how to accept and live through the moment.
Life happens. That is a constant we can all count on. The ups and downs; the hiccups and trip-ups; the pushes and pulls. That’s why I love the above quote from Jon Kabat-Zinn so much. Learning how to surf the Waves of Life — from the mellow to the massive — is such an amazing metaphor.
That said, here are a few guideposts I continue to rely on in those teachable moments where Life seems to throwing that un-surfable wave at me. I hope they can help you too.
The Moment is Impermanent. What ever is happening, it won’t last. Granted the time line for actual change could be a second, a month or a few years. But eventually it will change.
The Moment is Controllable. Each of us has control over how we handle each moment. From how we go into it to how we react to it to how we position ourselves for the next one. I’ll be the first to admit that this is a VERY hard thing to do. It’s the number one thing I continue to work on in my practice of living deeply each day.
The Moment Will Come Again. It’s a safe bet that you will encounter similar situations time and time again. Use how you’ve experienced previous situations as a learning tool for how you should handle it when it happens again. This takes perseverance and commitment (and learning how to embrace a nature free of guilt).
So what to do in the midst of riding those waves?
- Give the moment your full attention. Single-task. Avoid distractions. Insight and the resulting joy and happiness can only happen if we are truly there.
- Let your breath be a pathway to the moment. The simple and deliberate act of breathing can center you in the moment, relieving the stress you might be feeling. Feel the moment spiraling out of control? Stop, take a few deep breaths and relax your mind and body. Let go of what is causing you to fall off that wave. Then begin again from a fresh perspective.
- Look at the moment from a different perspective. If you’re a parent and you’re faced with one of those inevitable episodes with your child, stop and consider the situation from their eyes. How do you look and sound? Is the situation that big a deal in the grand scheme of things? This process — while requiring practice and perseverance — can be profoundly insightful.
- Embrace the natural happiness of the moment. In its purest state, the moment is blissfully free of angst, fear, anger or any other negative emotion. Be with it, open to the simple happiness that it provides.
- Look or go outside. Nature only dwells in the moment. And because of that, you can use it to help you get there too. Often when I’m teetering on that wave, I’ll look at the trees swaying or gaze up at the stars in the night sky. That which is bigger than us grounds us.
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