The Gift of the Present Moment

The happiest days of my life are those days when I had at least one “moment” with a person, place or thing that moved me deeply. It may have been while listening to a piece of music and connecting with the lyrics, connecting with another human being, or taking in the beauty around me. It may have been coffee with a friend that morning, or it may have been an interaction with a client during a therapy session.

During my one and only trip to Europe, the “moments” that were those filled with bliss or joy were those “moments” when I was engaged in something so uncomplicated and simple as walking into Gaudi Park and coming upon a local musician playing music in the courtyard. Stopped me in my tracks! I was just in awe as I looked around at the history and beauty of the park punctuated by the music being played.
On another outing I was walking through a very old courtyard in the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona when I came upon a local pianist set up in the courtyard. The courtyard had some simple carvings on the wall with sunbeams shining down from high above the 50+ foot walls. A very simple and uncomplicated scene! It literally took my breath away despite it being a so simple. I was overcome with such gratitude by the music and the scene.

One day I was in Starbucks (surprise!) and a local guy named Tommy came into the store and sat nearby. I could feel his sadness as he sat there near me staring out the window. We never exchanged a single word, but I could feel his emotional experience in that “moment” as though it were mine. It touched my heart to be able to sit there with him in his, not my, pain. As he stood up to walk out the door, I asked him “Tommy, how are you doing today? Are you okay?” and he responded by letting me know he wasn’t doing okay and he walked out the door as I told him to “take care” of himself. Even though I don’t think he knew his pain was resonating with me, I felt honored to share that moment with him.

I very often have moments with my dog, Happy, that reduce me to tears. He reminds me what is really important in life each day that we are together. Very often in the morning, as soon as we get out of bed and I begin my morning routine, he will go get his pink, squeaky ”piggy” and drop it at my feet and give a gentle “woof” as he looks up at me, inviting me to play. It makes me smile being reminded how uncomplicated (not easy) it can be to choose joy. And of course I cannot ignore that invite from him filled with such a gesture of love, but sometimes I do. Sometimes I forget to choose those moments of pure joy and bliss that stare me right in the face. He (Happy) literally laid that moment out before my feet, inviting me to seize that moment, and I have the opportunity to choose it or not. I have become increasingly more grateful for “moments” like this and I choose them more often than not. But I want to learn to be more present for them in my life and choose them more often.

We have been forced by the Corona Virus Pandemic to bring everything to a halt and return to “the basics” in life. We have been gifted the time to learn to be fully present and take in those uncomplicated moments in our lives that have the potential to provide us with “moments” of pure happiness, and maybe even bliss.

And so we have begun! People have heard the call and have begun to reach out to each other in ways they have not reached out before, or maybe they gave up reaching out to each other in those ways. People are singing to each other. Others are realizing once again the importance of making eye contact, one of the most compassionate things we can do for each other, and we are greeting each other again with a smile. People are getting out in nature again and taking in the beauty around them. The air feels cleaner and the sun is shining bright again. Many are taking this opportunity to do things they have always wanted to do but never had the time or took the time to do. Animals around the globe have returned to places where they have been scarce or completely absent for years. The smog over some cities has cleared and people can see the sky above for the first time in years, and maybe decades.

We are all being forced once again to practice choosing and engaging in the simple things in life. We are being encouraged by the universe to practice choosing those uncomplicated things that have the potential to create powerful “moments” of pure happiness and bliss for us and those around us. This is a very powerful “moment” in our human history and I hope we can all fully embrace this time and continue to practice creating “moments” of pure happiness and joy. Those “moments” are what remind me that I am alive and that I can live more richly and fully by practicing being as present as I possibly can.

So, practice taking a very deep breath and filling up the area of your belly up to your chest and collarbones. Now hold it for 4-6 seconds as you look around at your life and the things you can be grateful for. And now exhale that breath as slowly as you can as you let yourself be fully present in that sense of gratitude that you have as you take in your life. Now, pick just one thing that will bring you some happiness today and do it with a sense of complete presence that you may not have had the opportunity to experience before this “moment”! Here’s to practicing living more richly and fully from this day forward. It requires practice!

Practice! Practice!

Love and Light!

Norbert

 

 

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78 Main Street, # 401
Northampton, MA 01060

norbert@compassionnorthampton.com
(413) 835-1299

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