By Cathy McCarthy
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land: there is no other life but this.”
Henry David Thoreau
In the world of today, it is often very difficult to live in the moment. Life is so busy for everyone, we just seem to be chasing around all of the time, never stopping to pause and reflect.
When we live in the moment, we live every second of what is really happening in our lives. When we live in the moment, we begin to discover the wonder of each day, the little miracles that come our way.
For many of us, probably the vast majority of us, it is difficult to stop and just live in the present moment. Our mind is dwelling on the past or spiralling into the future.
We rush through our days mindlessly. We tell ourselves that we will live in the present when our lives are perfect, which of course will never happen.
We don’t believe that we can be happy just here and now. Many people defer living, waiting for the ‘right’ time to come, but if you always live with this mindset, life will pass you by.
When you relinquish your power to live your life this way, you become a prisoner to yourself. You have now, this day. Live it.
Some ideas for living in the present moment
- Take notice of the world around you … sights, smells, sounds.
- Be mindful when you do things.
- Slow down.
- Be grateful for what you have.
- Be present for the moments that may seem insignificant. They may be the most memorable. “Enjoy the little things for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.” (Robert Brault)
- Stop and breathe. Remember, your breath is the sound of life, a constant reminder to live in the moment.
- When you are doing a job, train your mind to focus on that activity.
- Learn some relaxation techniques to practise being in the moment.
We live in a world of instant gratification. We want everything today. Our young people are too impatient to wait for anything.
We live in an age of technology, and you can get information at the touch of a button, but that is not the way with life. More often than not, we have to wait for life to unfold.
Wherever you are on life’s journey, everything that happens is essential to advance the road ahead. We want a job, a house, but it will only happen when the time is right.
I happen to believe that everything is revealed in its own divine timing, and not a minute sooner. There is a process happening without our knowing and it will unfold in its own good time.
We have to be patient. When you have to wait for something I really do believe your depth of appreciation is far greater.
A little story which helped me to try and focus on living just now, today. I have a son, Jack, and he had a friend who died in 2014. Jack is a student in UCD and this friend was a participant with him on a group project.
One Saturday morning in 2014, Jack got a phone call to say that his friend had died the previous night in a car accident. Jack was shocked, in disbelief. He said, “Mum, I only saw him yesterday.”
I think these incidents are timely reminders to shake us up and force us to try and live in the moment. That young man went out that night and he never came home. When will we learn?
Live life today. Every moment of today is precious. If you have your health today, say ‘thank you’ and just enjoy today.
There is no guarantee for anyone that they have tomorrow. Today is yours to live, every second counts.