Some nights, I sip my coffee, listen to a beautiful song in Portuguese, and smile at my present moment of stillness.
Tonight is one of those nights.
William James once said, “For the moment, what we attend to is reality.” I think, like many of you, I often get swept up in the chaos of life and all its emotions and deadlines.
I’m no expert in mental health, but if there’s something I’ve learned this year in my coursework in Positive Psychology, it’s the importance of taking time to sit down, take in the present moment, and savor it.
We don’t get to choose the families we are born into and we don’t get to run away from negative experiences. But we can work to transform our struggles and salvage the light of what may have only been viewed as darkness.
There are many experiences in my life that I wish had played out differently.
There are some that still grab ahold of my heart and squeeze it until I use my tears as ink for another poem.
Finding anything positive about these experiences in the moment often feels next to impossible. I can look back on them, though, and salvage some good; and if no good at all, I can use them as a springboard or turning point to launch me down a new trajectory.
I used to wish all pain and suffering away.
I have been angry at the inequities and injustices that exist in this world.
There are many holes in our systems, and experiencing them day after day can push me to find a corner in my bed and cry some more into a pillow.
After this passes, though, my inner advocate comes out, and I work to change things.
This world isn’t fair—it isn’t just. There is so much more to be done.
If you, too, have experienced these holes, you know this pain and anger.
We need you, though, to stand up. We need you to tell your story and to fight because, without your voice, the hole will remain for others.
Attend to your emotions and listen to what they are saying.
Don’t become swallowed up in them, but rather, let them ignite fire to your redemption story.
There are many ways to stand up.
March, write, and join together. Make some noise, even if it’s in written form.
Send it out into the world, and then sit down, thank your experiences for what they’ve taught you, and savor your present moment.
You are okay.
Right now, just as you are, notice just this—and savor it.