Savor the moment
On the morning of New Years Eve, I started my walk around Green Lake in the pre-dawn darkness greeted by tall cedars and naked maple trees. As I walked past swimming ducks and Blue Herons patiently waiting for breakfast, the eastern sky grew light. That afternoon, in my office at the Everett Marina, I watched a magnificent sunset over the Olympics. The sky was cloudless and luminescent, painted with red and orange streaks of light.
For me, the perfect day is watching the sunrise and the sunset. They are magical moments. Why?
In modern life, we are so disconnected from the natural rhythms of nature. Ancient men and women had a deep understanding of the link between their lives and the earth they lived on. Daily survival depended on this knowledge.
Yet, even in our high tech lives, we can still observe the daily miracle of the earth’s turning, the changing seasons, and the beauty of the natural world around us. We are lucky in the Northwest—we are close to the mountains and the water. Even in the cities, trees, plants, and birds surround us.
So much of our routine is found within the daily spin of the globe. But with each sunrise we have the prospect of something new and fresh, like starting a new chapter of a book. What will happen to the main character? What will she see? What will he do? Of course, in a novel, anything can happen, while our lives seem far more mundane and predictable. Make breakfast, pack the kid’s lunch, drive to work, do the dishes, plan dinner, and watch a TV show. It seems hardly worth writing a novel about our daily lives.
It’s less about something unanticipated that might happen. It’s more about the possibility that today you can be the person that you want to be. That is a gift you can give yourself, that cannot be taken from you. How do I want to be? My hope is that this day I will be patient with my spouse, children, and co-workers, kind, compassionate, loving, open, and aware. Yesterdays miss steps are wiped away by the rising sun. It’s a new day.
I can make new choices today too. Perhaps it’s a good day to spend more time with my wife or start working on that project that I’ve been putting off.
At the same time, the setting sun reminds me that while everything has a beginning, it also has an end. This is the reminder from the earth’s daily journey—beginnings and endings come together. What is pleasant and desirable will come to a close. What is sad and painful will also turn into something else—it’s a bittersweet truth.
Just as this day comes to an end, so will everything else, including our lives! It’s a fact that we don’t like to consider. But it’s true.
Why is it helpful to remember this simple truth? It reminds us to live today! Savor the moment, especially the small moments---watching your daughter run to greet you when you walk in the door, the smell of soup cooking on a cold winter day, the rush of air against your skin when you open the front door, the feel of your beloved’s kiss, and the moment when your eyes open in the morning.
In the rush of the day, pause for a moment, and notice what is all around you. Focus on your senses and be present. This is what is meant by mindfulness.
Today, you are alive. Be the person that you want to be. Savor the small moments.