Thinking about “the moment” on the Jesup Trail

Searching for "a moment" along the Jesup path

One of my fundamental beliefs is that if we can learn to fully experience or be in each moment of our existence that we will live happier lives and be more content.  I believe this because the moment is all that we can be sure of.   “The past is over, the future is uncertain, today is all we have, that’s why it’s called the present”, or words  similar to this I have read many times.

This idea of being in the moment is much easier said then done.    Some months ago I sat down and made a list of times in my adult life that I felt I was truly “in the moment”.  So I would like to challenge you to list six experiences that you have had in your life where you were totally in the moment – nothing else mattered at that point in time, you were completely immersed in that experience, no distractions, no worries about the future, no regrets about the past; just that moment.   And, I’m going to further challenge you to skip the obvious ones, like the day you got married, or the day your kids/grandkids were born, or fabulous sex (because this is a G-rated blog).   Be as specific as you can.

I loved the feeling looking down this boardwalk through the woods evoked for me.

Here are six from my list:

  • Flying out to a glacier by helicopter in Alaska and then hiking on the glacier.   Talk about feeling small.
  • The first time I came to Acadia with my new SLR camera and hiking the ocean trail – the surf was amazing (and sometimes I still miss my Fuji film).   I must have shot 15 rolls of film that day.
  • Sitting behind the Tampa Bench for a Tampa Bay versus Toronto  National Hockey League game.  Wow, you get a whole other perspective on how fast and physical that game is when you sit behind the bench.
  • Driving a Nascar Type car at the Richard Petty Driving school.  Hanging on for dear life, pedal to the metal and screaming WHOOOOO the whole way around the track.
  • Driving the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, emerging from fog so thick going up one side of the mountain pass and emerging on the other side to crystal clear skies and the sight of endless ocean.  This was made even more special after surviving “The Cabin From Hell” the night before where I was certain I was going to see Bigfoot, but that’s a story for another blog.
  • Going on a whale watching cruise and getting to see some of these magnificent animals in their natural environment so “up close and personal”,  they took my breath away with their beauty and majesty.

As you can see for me, a lot of my “in the moment” experiences have to do with being in nature (and sports that are fast, physical, and a little dangerous).     Since the nearest hockey is more than an hour away at the University of Maine, I’m counting on my experiences with nature here on Mount Desert Island to help me build skill at being in the moment.   In fact one of my daily affirmations is as follows:  “I am able to be still, listen to this place (Acadia), and learn from it’s wisdom”.

Winterberries on sky

This is easier said then done.  I, like most people want the quick fix, the instant change.  But I’m learning that it doesn’t work that way.   Any change worth making in your life is going to take time, it’s going to take practice, and most of all, it’s going to take patience.   So I will keep walking and I will keep watching and I will keep listening.   I want being in the moment to be a part of my daily existence, not something that I  achieve only while traveling, or engaged in a particular hobby.    I want those moments while washing the dishes, I want them while petting the cats, I want the mundane to become the sublime, and as those moments pile one upon another I end up living a beautiful life.

May we all have beautiful lives made up of beautiful moments.    I will close with a zen quote:

“Seize from every moment its unique novelty and do not prepare your joys”  Andre Gide




About Carol Page-Potter

I am a woman in the midst of reconnecting with life after the death of my husband.

Posted on December 11, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Wow – 6? Well, one I can think of, besides those obvious ones, are when Jeff was lost at sea and I just had to wait. Another is during the wildfires and we were glued to the news trying to figure out what to do next. Does that count though cuz I was looking ahead? Not sure why the two I can come up with are “tragedy” oriented. Will have to think about “comedy” ones.

    Have a good Monday!

  2. Because I don’t follow instructions very well, I’m going to tell you about one of the consistent times that I am NOT in the moment (did you know I have “Live in the moment” on my phone as a reminder to do just that?). Whenever I bake, I make a conscious effort to count the cups of flour. I give myself a little pep talk, “Ok, Barb, now pay attention!”…and I always, always fail…my mind wanders, I lose concentration, and I end up remeasuring…by not “being in the moment”, I lose time, waste effort, and feel annoyed and defeated!

    When our son was small, we went to the zoo. All he talked about was seeing the white tiger! Something happened on the way to the tiger cages that ticked him off, and when we finally got to the tiger enclosures he refused to look at that white tiger! I pleaded with him, knowing how badly he would later regret not seeing something that he had so longed for and anticipated! I so much wanted him to let go of his anger and enjoy that beautiful moment! I think I wanted that for him, because I had a tendency toward “punishing” myself that same way! It was a turning in my own life. My husband has made me a poster, with pictures of two tigers, one white, with the caption, “Always look at the white tiger!”…and, I try…I really try!

    Thank you for the reminder and the challenge!

  3. I could quickly name 6 “big” in the moment times – a huge underground waterfall in Tenn., the Grand Canyon, full-moon hike in the Colorado mountains (with no artificial light), hike up to see 4 states from the top in Tenn., Whitewater rafting in Colorado, wildflowers covering the meadow at the top of the continental divide and many more “travel” times. However, I cherish just a much the contentment I feel more and more often in small things. Listening to the birds from my back porch, watching the sunset, or rise, hand quilting, seeing the joy on small children’s faces at my job, hearing their giggles, relaxing with a cup of tea, driving home by the “country” route from work, playing a card game with the “big” grandchildren, making homemade pizza with the “little” grandchildren, yes, even doing the dishes sometimes! I still need reminders too – but I think this is something that becomes easier with age! Thanks for bringing up the topic! The rush of Christmas projects threatens to derail me this week!

  4. Thanks for all comments, really makes us think. Just goes to show that this concept of “being in the moment” is an ongoing learning process as well as a daily “discipline”.

  5. I will share the first one that came to mind…..June 2010, full body harness, warm sun, sweet crisp air, waves crashing below, excitement & fear, heart pounding, palms sweaty I then swung my entire body off the cliff and started repelling down a cliff as my two kids peeked from above with what appeared to be a bit of amazement and surprise that I was doing this. I reached the bottom and enjoyed the sights from below. I looked over the water and at that moment I briefly spoke out loud, just for a few moments, to my Uncle Don, my first time to share this place with him (this moment was unspoken until now). It was time for the climb back to the top that challenged and stretched me and still is a source of pride and motivation I recall…..June 2012-Otter Cliff-Acadia, perhaps time for a second visit.

  6. Now if you could just explain why my man story, while I was a bit sentimental and vulnerable, is now “tagged” with what appears to be a pink quilt like object I would be most appreciative 🙂 Enjoy your weekend, we will be thinking of you and missing you tomorrow.

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