Thinking about “the moment” on the Jesup Trail
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.
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”.
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