5 Ways to Live in the Moment – By Christine Callahan Oke

When we’re busy just “getting through the day,” it’s easy to lose sight of the amazing things that are right in front of us.  And there’s so much joy to be found in everyday moments.

I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately with the multitude of things going on in my life.  My schedule has been jam-packed and I’ve taken very little time for self-care.  Typically when this goes on for an extended period of time, my patience wears thin and I temporarily lose sight of the most important thing I have: the moment.

At times like this, my kids often bring me right back to where I need to be.  Here’s an ordinary moment where my six-year-old son did just that:

The other day I picked him up from school.  We were going to head straight home so I could get back to my computer to meet a pressing work deadline, but I decided I’d first run a quick errand related to some volunteer work I was doing.

As part of the volunteer work, I’m helping out with a school fair where one of the features is a pirate treasure cove.  At the cove, kids dig in the sand for buried treasure including gold nuggets.  I had cheerfully offered to create the gold nuggets which meant picking up a load of river rocks, cleaning them and spray painting them gold.

I went with my son to the local stone center without thinking to bring a shovel.  So what I thought would be a ½ hour errand ended up taking an hour and a half because we were picking up hundreds (thousands?) of rocks by hand and putting them in the bin in my car.  My work project weighed on my mind and I was getting anxious.  I silently fumed.

My son, on the other hand, was having fun checking out the interesting shapes and seeing how high and far he could throw the rocks.  He kept saying “Mommy, look! See how far I can throw this thing?!”  He was so excited.

I responded with comments like, “That’s great, buddy, but we really need to get going here.  Can you help?” or, more impatiently, “Honey, we have to get this done – I have to get back to work.”

Then the light bulb went on above my head: I wasn’t paying attention to the experience we were sharing.

Here we were, just the two of us, doing something we’d never done before.  He was having a blast and I was in stress mode not really paying attention to him.  So I consciously breathed more deeply and took some time to watch him.  And it so much fun to witness his joy.  My son brought me back to the simple pleasures of the moment.

After we got home, I worked a bit late and met my deadline.  So in the end it all came together and I got to enjoy that experience with my little boy who is growing so quickly.

When you find yourself in stress-mode or are running around on auto-pilot, here are 5 ways to bring yourself back to the moment:

  • When you see a star-filled sky or beautiful sunset, take it in, inhale and exhale deeply, and really appreciate it.
  • Feel the breeze on your skin, smell the season’s scents in the air, notice the colours and textures around you.  What’s something amazing in your line of sight?  Even dewdrops on a blade of grass can be breathtaking.
  • Does your child want to play or tell you a story?  Put the dishes or meal prep aside for a while – those can wait.
  • See a stranger struggling to load something into their grocery cart?  Take a moment to lend a helping hand, rather than rush on by.
  • Does your friend need an ear?  Put down your smartphone and honour them with your undivided attention.  Really listen to what they have to say.

Enjoy the moment! It’ll never be back.