Saturday, 30 June 2018

Living in the moment or for the moment?

This is the *extended article first published in The Press York on Tuesday, May 22nd 2018 

Those readers who use Facebook, will know that about once a week, they will post a memory reminder. It will be text or a photo from some years before. Always a surprise, the reminders can induce a variety of emotions. Quite often I have forgotten the event I was writing about or am shocked at the passing of time since making the posting.

This week, the memory reminder was from 2011. “I stepped out of the back door, still wearing pyjamas, fed the birds, looked at the flowers and trees and breathed in fresh air. Then realised I had spent over half my life in flats. I hope I never take my home and life for granted. Carpe Diem!”

Seven years have passed and I still count my blessings every day.  *Well, I try to. The best self-inflicted 'kick up the backside' is to remember some very dear friends who haven't been as fortunate as I have been, to make it this far in life. 

There have been many changes in circumstances during that time, happy, sad, concerning and exciting ones. Very little has been planned.

* In situations when we think nothing will change, we need to remind oneself that change is a constant and that much that has happened in the previous week, month, year was not planned. I've quoted John Lennon before, but it's worth repeating, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

The terms, ‘living for the moment’ and ‘living in the moment’ have different meanings and different outcomes. Finding happiness and contentment is more elusive in ‘living for the moment’. 

Expectations can be unrealistic, outcomes disappointing and happiness missed in passing moments. Many of the clients I helped, were ‘living for the moment’. The moment when there would be resolution for a past event in their lives, often an event in childhood when they were left with a feeling of ‘not being good enough.’ That moment had either never happened or didn’t provide the resolution if it had done so. It couldn’t do. The people, places and context have changed.

* If resolution is about revenge, the result is not always was was wanted or expected. Short-term gain can lead to long-term pain.

A man was explaining his frustration at continually failing to find resolution to a feeling from childhood. I said, “Well, you won’t, because it’s a hopeless task, like chasing rainbows. The pot of gold is only an illusion and you are becoming deluded chasing it.” “You’re right,’ he said.  "It feels like I’m running backwards and forwards to a well, trying to fill a bucket with water, that can’t ever be filled.” This is why my book is called, “Are you Chasing Rainbows?’, rather than ‘Are you Filling Buckets.’

That morning in 2011 I was ‘living in the moment’ and without trying, was also experiencing Mindfulness. Those moments haven’t stopped and are precious. They cost nothing. Simple pleasures.


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