“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.” ~ Alan Watts
Brush! Flip! A bustling woman slams by—then, the moment is lost.
How often do we miss beauty like this?
Do we ever really experience the moments that we are in?
For me, all of life is but a dance, from one moment to the next.
How often do we ignore the sun that gently coaxes the pink toward the surface of our cheeks? The brilliant song of floating birds fall on ears that no longer listen.
Even the warmth of our company is drowned in conversation, missing the essence of the people we are with.
Our eyes illustrate the deafness of our ears—they show our mind jetting elsewhere.
Our minds—treadmills for running “to-do lists.” The filing cabinets of our brains, shoved with Kardashian escapades and mindless chatter.
When was the last time you held a flower? Felt the hair on it’s stem? Felt each ripple tickle your thumbprint as you stroke a petal?
When was the last time you let yourself get dirty? Allowed a wrinkle to creep into your shirt? Have you ever let a pinky toe cross the deep line of a rule?
For me it happened this weekend—I was reminded how fragile ,our seemingly ensured, life is. A young one lost his life—quickly, suddenly—to the hands of mystery, the unknown, the goodbye forever.
Our lives are not forever, but how often do we forget?
When my father was given six months to live, he wrote about the hours immediately following his diagnosis.
He stopped at a convenience store, eyes stinging from the white shear. He knew he could have bought anything in the store, but that meant nothing. What he wanted more than anything was more time. Time to enjoy, time with his young girls, time with his wife.
In his scrawly writing, he pondered why we flash through our morning rituals to get to work. Or to save for a vacation that we will look forward to for months and enjoy in the blink of an eye.
Why couldn’t we take the time to enjoy our morning shower? He pondered—why couldn’t we enjoy the strokes of brushing our teeth? Why couldn’t we find vacation in our backyard.
Our lives will end.
While we cannot choose where we start, when we end or the potholes we hit on the way—we can choose our manner of travel.
I have found that using the steps below can help us stay present and make our daily life a vacation:
- Enjoy silence. Our Western Society is prided on small talk and gossip. Embrace silence when it arises with another person. Don’t force conversation. Your presence can speak more volumes than your voice. In silence, you can hear more. Try it. You will understand.
- Really taste your food! And your drink! We shovel and shovel mounds of food into a small hole in our face. Enjoy each bite. Close your eyes. Notice the texture of your food. Feel the salvation of your tongue swirl into delectability.
- Feel the breeze. Feel the wind. Notice your emotion towards the wind when it’s soft, when it’s harsh. Can you accept that—ahhh—that’s what the wind is today. No judgement. Feel life. We’re conditioned to be upset about the cold and happy in warmth, but just feel.
- Smile at the sun. The pulling force of life on this planet. Let it feed your skin and your smile. Feel it’s beams tickle you with warmth. Be thankful is chose to shine on this day, or that a cloud breezed past to let it peak on through.
- Be with those you are with. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and missed every word they said because you were thinking about the presentation you had tomorrow? What will come, will come. Really listen to those in front of you. If this is hard, picture a written element for every word they are saying. I’ll say it one more time—listen.
- Get rid of your damn light boxes. Our eyes jet from television screen, to computer screen, to phone screen, to tablet screen, to GPS screens, to camera screens, to menu screens, to more and more boxes of projecting light. Turn them off every once in a while, and look at the light reflecting off objects and life around you.
- Feel the ground. Get barefoot, baby. Feel the dirt in between your toes. Feel the cold dew on grass awakening each morning. Feel the jags of pavement rise up to meet your calyces.
- Breathe. Take in the air outside that feels whole. Your lungs expands. Your chest lifts. Your heart rises. Exhale—your muscles burst and settle. Your mind settles.
- Move to your own dance in life. If something doesn’t feel right, my dear—leave. If a moment feels right, then my dear—stay. Enjoy. Drink in the moment of life.
Author: Elizabeth Brumfield
Apprentice Editor: Ellie Cleary/Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Pixoto/Norman Smajic