When I entered the nail salon last week, I practically walked right into a girl in a wheelchair. I was in my head, and not completely aware of my surroundings.
When I got present, I noticed this girl was living out her life with a physical disability. In fact, everyone noticed. Not only because of her appearance, but also because she was having a very loud conversation with a woman about how she was feeling at the moment.
Her words were muffled, as her mouth did not quite work as efficiently as mine, but I got her point. While she was trapped in a body that did not work as well as most other humans, it was obvious to me that she was free to be who she was and acknowledge how she felt at any given moment without regret, fear of judgment or guilt.
It was a gentle reminder of just how much I am in my head.
There I stood, waiting for my manicure, and I was brought back to the waiting room at my son Drew’s child therapy. Each week, after Drew goes inside the playroom, this boy looks at me and says, “Going shopping?”
The first time he said that to me, I was taken aback. Now, we both smile after our short interaction. Most special needs children have this wonderful gift of foregoing small talk, breaking through the barrier of connecting with a stranger. They have their own way of being, and it is more than refreshing; it is inspiring. They live from their hearts, often with no filter.
Like the girl in the nail salon, this boy lives in the moment.
We can often feel sorry for those who are different, but we have it all wrong. They have so much to teach us. How to love without fear, speak our truth and live each and every moment just as we feel. Too often our world sees those who have a disability or special needs as a liability, but perhaps we are the ones trapped in a world with rules that choke the spontaneity right out of us.
Yet we do not need a disability, or a developmental diagnosis, to live in the moment. We can take back our hearts.
We can do this by becoming aware when we are anywhere other than the moment. We can spend time in nature, meditating and simply being aware of ourselves. It is not important how often we slip into thoughts of the past or worry about the future, but that we see when we are off in another place, and gently bring ourselves back to the moment.
And with practice, we begin to gain back our power.
We are no longer reacting to life, but living consciously.
For it is in the moment that we find who we are and why we are here. We find compassion and love for ourselves, and others. We see how we are all here to learn from each other, and our teachers are everywhere, dressed up in the costumes of those who appear different.
When we find the moment, it does not matter what we do—sit alone or find company, cry or laugh, dance or sing—it only matters that we open our hearts and honor ourselves, no matter what gift that moment offers.
Eckhart Tolle, spiritual author, describes living in the moment as follows:
“Life is always now. Whatever happens, whatever you experience, feel, think, do—it’s always now. It’s all there is. And if you continuously miss the now—resist it, dislike it, try to get away from it, reduce it to a means to an end, then you miss the essence of your life.”
And when we tap into this essence, something magical happens. For it is in the moment that the fear disappears, the blame evaporates and the truth emerges. It is here that we find peace and forgiveness, forego addictions, release hate and find compassion and love for ourselves just as we are.
We stop caring what others say or think, for loving ourselves outweighs another’s judgment, a million to one.
If we want something out of our life, whether it is happiness, peace, a soul mate or even greater financial abundance, then the way to receive everything we desire is to go back to the moment. Everything we want, every question we have, every emotion we feel is right there, inside of us, ready to be loved.
Lucky for us, our lives are made up of endless moments, endless chances. So if we miss one, there will always be another, waiting just for us.
Author: Beth Mund
Editor: Toby Israel
Image: Gareth Williams/Flickr