I think it’s great how time ticks by only one second at a time. I used to hate it. But now I see that one moment at a time is the only increment I can handle. None of us gets to go to Sam’s Wholesale Club and stock up on a big bulk supply of minutes to use for a special occasion. We get our moments like the children of Israel got manna… one little bite-sized meal at a time. I used to waste so many of my moments worrying about future moments, rather than engaging with each one as it came. My kids could tell I wasn’t listening to them because my mind was somewhere else. My husband often had to repeat what he had just said because I wasn’t present in my mind. And my coworkers saw someone who was increasingly overwhelmed and going a thousand directions at once. And I’ll admit, I’m still not “cured” from all that.
Most of the time, my life is just too overwhelming to take in all at once. I used to think I was just going through a “busy time” but after 15 or 20 years I’m starting to get the feeling that it’s more than that. There is so much information coming at us, so many circumstances to process, so much on the line when trying to navigate the economy, jobs, family life, friendships, domestic responsibilities and planning for the future. For my family, there are a few extra considerations as we try to create a safe, nurturing environment for a child with Asperger’s Syndrome… frequent communication with the school, doctor visits, dietary needs, extra measures to manage behaviors and special challenges, occasional crisis management, not to mention constantly educating ourselves. But it’s pretty amazing how, just when it all starts feeling too big, I realize that all I have to take on is the moment I’m in. Whew!
In learning to live in the moment, I’m finding that I will never accomplish my personal best at anything if I am wasting my emotional energy bracing for moments that haven’t even arrived yet. If this moment doesn’t have my full attention, I’ve squandered it. And for nothing, since I can’t control the future! But keeping my expectations simple and realistic seems to be lighting a new fire in me… a new wave of optimism that I really can handle my life as long as I don’t expect the impossible.
Earlier today I designated some time for planning, rethinking my choices and deciding if the things I spend my time doing are the best for my life, my family and our future. I let myself get outside the moment just long enough to reassess my path, my long-term goals and the kind of impact I want to make on the world around me. And you know what? The fulfillment I once thought I would get from achieving a certain kind of goal or status doesn’t hold as much weight in my mind as it use to, yet I am probably more capable of achieving those goals now that I understand that I can and will accomplish them just like everything else… moment by moment. There is simply no more fulfilling feeling than being 100% present in this moment and using it to be the person I was created to be.
It’s an amazingly free experience to be able to focus entirely on whatever this moment requires. It keeps the head and the heart clear and ready for action! And if the moment requires rest… it’s actually restful! And here’s the best part. I also don’t have to spend my here-and-now mourning for the times when I didn’t use my moments wisely. That, too, is a waste of energy. If I need to get things right with someone… I spend this moment doing it. Not wishing my time away.
Whether we’re busy, grieving, overwhelmed, facing an uncertain future… or life is great and we just want to keep plugging, we only have to take on this minute. Then the next. It’s by design!