Think back to the last time you were on vacation. Whether it was lounging on a sandy beach or taking in the gorgeous views during a mountain hike or languishing in your hotel room in a beautiful city or the smell of bacon frying in the morning while camping by the side of the lake; what makes your vacation time so much better than the rest of your time? You may argue that it is so sublime because you don’t have to go to work. But many folks exert as much energy playing as they do at work and sometimes more energy. You may conclude that it is the change of environment; the sand, the trail, the room, the water etc. Certainly there are many factors involved with vacations that cause us to feel joyful, but there is one common theme that is the subject of today’s blog. On a vacation intended for relaxation we shift our focus from the past and the future to the wonderful present. We purposefully don’t think about the bills that “will” be due or the work we need to finish later or what the boss said to us in anger last week. No, we make some loose plans and then get busying enjoying the wonder and beauty that is today. It is as if we free ourselves from all the illusory burdens of time and focus ourselves on “right now!” And since right now is all we can experience, we decide to thoroughly enjoy it.
There is a way to live your life that escapes the thinking of the masses. There’s a way to make the most of your experiences. There is a simplicity to life that is so simple we have missed it all our lives. The culture of our world is ever seeking ways for us to move faster, get more done, accomplish more and maximize our time. We laud multi-tasking and efficiency and “to get err done…” Just do it and do it and do it again is the mindset of today. And for all of our inventions and efficiencies and time savers, where has it gotten us? Are we happier? Are we joyful? Do we feel blessed and content? I would say no. Yet it’s not the speed at which we move that bogs us down. It’s where we have learned to put the focus of our minds. Humans are designed to live in one time period and one time period only – right now! The only time we have available to us is this present moment. Yet how much time do we spend focused on the present moment? While we are at work today we focus on getting home. During the week we focus on the upcoming weekend. During the work year we focus on the coming vacation. While we are at school we are thinking about being done with school. While cleaning the house we are thinking about how great it will be to sit down and relax after the house is clean. But the real joy of living is found in 100% commitment to the present moment. It is persisting in a state of experiencing and enjoying right now. If the duties of right now call for some house cleaning, so be it. If it’s time to go to work, go to work and be 100% involved in your work while you are there. Don’t spend one idle moment wishing you were off work as that shift of focus will make your work a misery. What is the best way to experience school? Don’t mentally leave the classroom before you physically leave the classroom. In fact, don’t mentally leave any moment you are still in, as departing from the present moment takes the enjoyment out of it.
Interestingly, the vast majority of our concerns and our anxieties and our fears are found where? In the future! Unless a large tiger is currently gnawing on your calf muscle, you probably don’t have anything to be afraid of right at this moment, correct? So do this moment and refuse to do the future moments. Can’t you see how huge and life changing this is? Uh huh, but what about the future? Am I supposed to just let everything go now and make no plans for the future? Well of course not, silly! Make the most grand and glorious plans that you can, then do today, today! Maybe in your future you see yourself as an author? Then take some time to write today (smile)…
And what about the past? How do we handle all of those times we zigged when we should have zagged? Or that one big thing? Well, the past is ummm past… We can’t go back to those moments, can we? Shoot we can’t even go back to fifteen minutes ago when we were eating those three donuts, to not eat them, right? LOL In reality, the past no longer exists. It’s gone man! Over.. In the books! Thus imagine the sheer FUTILITY (yelling now) of spending any of your present moments regretting your past moments. Sure, encourage your sweet memories; your times of love and success and appreciation, remember the people you cherished, but do it while you are wholeheartedly choosing to live today.
I realize the simplicity of this is almost too much to take. But if you have ever believed anything I have ever said, believe this; living 100% in the present moments will cause your “joy” and “appreciation” levels to go off the chart! And while you are seriously giving this a try, take a look at your children or your grandchildren. Notice the joy they experience by living in the moment? Oh they don’t have to pay bills? LOL Maybe not, but neither do you at this present moment! (You are reading, right?)
So how can you thoroughly enjoy the simplicity of living life today? Get your vacation mind-set working for you! Decide to be fully alive and observant and mindful of these very moments you find yourself in. Don’t go back in time and don’t go too far ahead in time. Do, be, live, love and enjoy today, as tomorrow will have it’s own issues for you to deal with “tomorrow…”
Mmmm is that the smell of bacon by the campfire? No, it’s the smell of many minds that just came back to life!