When we lived in Southern California, we had a beautiful garden. It was terraced on a hill with a waterfall which came crashing down over rocks into a natural lily pond. There were fish in the pond that raccoons would sneak in at night and eat. Eventually we just stocked it with free skeeter eaters compliments of the city of Torrance. Thanks, Torrance.
In this garden, there were many sitty places. Benches under arches filled with sweet-scented jasmine. A hammock under the Jacaranda with cool, green grass below it speckled with lavender flowers. Companion loungers under the amazing willow we planted as a nursery reject. The tendrils of Willow would tickle you when you reclined below her shade. Eventually, she grew to be over 30 feet tall in 15 years and forced us to trim her every year. Sometimes, twice.
I remember my dad taking all those Moment Spots in during one visit and saying, “Something tells me you never sit in those.”
“Never” was an overstatement, but he had captured the essence of something I struggle with–being in the moment I’m in without thinking about the one before or the one that comes next. If I’ve had a lifelong goal, mastering this would be it.
Yet, many of the things I do require just the opposite: parenting, writing, coaching, teaching–these all require thought. Our culture rewards that thought, doesn’t it? Look around and observe. Listen to the conversations you encounter each today. They don’t start with, “What an amazing moment this is. The air feels magical against my skin. I’m connecting with you and you and sharing space.” Could you imagine? Much more frequently, it’s…
Person 1: How’s it going?
Person 2: Great. And you?
Person 1: That’s good.
Person 2: Yeah. Sooooooo….
If you’re talking to teens, it’s almost mandatory you throw in the word “tired” somewhere. They use that word to describe just about every emotion available they don’t want to talk about with old people.
I use meditation twice a day to practice this. I admire people who excel at it like my husband and my youngest son and try to learn from them. I try and sit and balance the doing with the doing nothing.
I’m not there yet. Not even close.