Category Archives: Being In The Moment

REDISCOVERING THE PLEASURE OF SILENCE

Appreciating escaping the rat-race for a while.
Photo:Sprengben

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. — Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

I’m writing this on a Sunday morning. In fact, this is the first Sunday in a long time when I’ve had some time to be by myself. I decided early this morning, with great deliberateness, to take this one day and underachieve.

Normally I would have the television tuned to something informational (not necessarily profound, just informational), a one pot meal beginning to simmer on the stove, and a load of laundry ready for drying.

But not today.

This morning I rediscovered the pleasure of silence. Of doing nothing more than staring into a steaming cup of green tea infused with mint and lemongrass, gently shimmering, residing in temporary glory, in an over-sized, clear glass teacup.

Most of the time a hot beverage is merely a desk-side companion, the main purpose of which is to allow me to punctuate the end of one task and the beginning of another. Something appreciated in passing, but otherwise barely noticed.

But not today.

Momentarily, my thoughts drift back over the past week, a hectic blur of emails and appointments, traffic snarls, and pedestrians, telephone conversations and quick exchanges — first at the bank, then at the UPS store, then at the supermarket.

But not today.

Nothing dramatic has come of this absence of chaos today, just a renewed appreciation for the reinvigorating effects of serene downtime.

I’m not good at building such time into each and every day, but in the future I’m going to make a point of far more periodic breaks like this one. I’m going to say to myself:

Today!

Please share your thoughts on this topic in the Comments section below.

In the meantime,

Bestest to all,Cynthia Dalton signature

 

WHAT SECRET DO CHILDREN POSSESS ABOUT STAYING MOTIVATED?

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?  – Satchel Paige

 OH TO BE A KID AGAIN!

I’m not saying there aren’t a lot of perks to being an adult, there are, most notably all manner of ‘adult ’ privileges, like driving a car and being able to set your own bedtime!

But, somewhere along the way we adults get chipped away at, worn-down by complications, minutia, and emergencies.

One week recently I had to deal with:

  • The smoke detector going off at 4:00AM on a Sunday morning (there I was in my nightie and fuzzy clown-shoe slippers perched atop a ten foot ladder fumbling with a 9 volt battery  — so much for the joys of a high ceiling) seriously considering taking a hammer to the damn thing to stop that incessant chirping
  •  Legal matters on Monday
  •  Two crucial deadlines on Wednesday 
  • On Thursday, a hot water heater that went kaputsky at 3:30 AM (the wise-guy designer of the house having decided that the garage wasn’t good enough for the blasted thing, so he put it in its own closet so that it could flood my carpeted downstairs). Oh, and the shut-off for the water was frozen, so then I’m out in front of my darkened house, flashlight in hand, trying to figure out how to shut off the water to the house, fuming and wrestling with a concrete slab cover, weeds, dirt, and a stubborn lever. Then I find that the 24 hr. plumbing service can’t get out to the house until somewhere between 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM (great, no shower!). Let me tell you, sopping up that mess took tons of towels, which later produced many loads of laundry, and a weekend of running floor fans day and night so everything could dry out

 So it’s easy to see why us adults are often operating on ‘diminished capacity’ when it comes to overcoming adversity, getting maximum enjoyment out of our lives, and staying motivated to do our best, both at work, and at home. We tell ourselves, “When things calm down and get on an even keel, then I’ll be able to come up for air, take a breath, and start getting it together. Then I can focus on successfully moving forward.”

Thus, without intending to, gun-shy from what life has tossed our way, we adults spend a great deal of our time either fretting about what curve-ball is coming next, or hoping the future will be less hectic, and brighter. The future becomes a thing to dread. We dream big, but stall in our tracks, procrastinating when it comes to accomplishing our goals. Even though we see the logic in what Tony Robbins says: 

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.

Still, we feel stuck in a loop. So how do we break the cycle?

HOW OLD WOULD YOU BE?

I believe Satchel Paige’s question in the quote above holds a crucial key. If you suddenly didn’t know your age, and I asked you to say how old you are, what would be your response?

If you’d asked me that question six months ago, I’d probably have said, “100 years old.” That’s because I was stressed out, and overwhelmed with an unfulfilling professional situation and a personal life marred by a series of family tragedies.

Ask me the same question today, and I’ll tell you, “I’m probably somewhere around 7 years old.” What changed? Paige’s question got me to ask myself  similar questions: How old would I like to feel? What would be so special about that particular age?

I answered, 7 years old, because at that age I had the ability to spring-back quickly from hurts and disappointments. I also had: 

  •  Energy
  • Enthusiasm
  • Humor
  • Curiosity
  • A thirst for knowledge 
  •  A willingness to try

And what these traits have in common is: they are rooted in NOW.

THIS IS THE SECRET THAT CHILDREN POSSESS!

With no conscious effort, children simplify their world by staying grounded in the present; they are natural Zen masters. In his book Lessons from the Sandbox: Using the 13 Gifts of Childhood to Rediscover The Keys To Business Success, Dr. Alan Gregerman points out, “When we were kids, we played and laughed a lot, brought great energy and enthusiasm to everything that interested us, concentrated when it suited us, had compelling urgency about the most important things, and took the lead in magical ways. Interestingly, the typical child laughs over one hundred times a day, while the average adult laughs only two or three times a day.”

Imitate children, because they are the most adept at commanding their present moment. Each present moment builds the future. Focus on, and commit to, your present moment, and you capture your best future. As Bill Keane puts it:

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift from God, which is why we call it the present

Please leave your own thoughts in the Comments section below.

In the meantime,

Bestest to all,

Cynthia Dalton signature

 

 

 

 

Photo: Cynthia Dalton