A True Islander Lives in the Moment

Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
I grew up with this little wooden placard hanging in our kitchen. These words of wisdom accompanied us from Japan to Switzerland and, when my mother recently moved back to the Seychelles, she brought the sign with her and hung it up in the kitchen. The strange thing is, although she is a Seychelloise (in other words, an islander), she never embraced the insight; my mother is a worrier. Big time. This is the woman who stayed awake chain smoking all night worrying about the next day and still does (worry AND chainsmoke).

I, on the other hand, am a true islander, I've always believed that dwelling on the past is counter-productive and worrying about the future is pointless. (Yeah, I believed the sign!) After all, the only moment in which we can truly be happy, is the present moment.

On my son's first day of school, I forgot to bring my camera. I'll never forget the emotions I had as he walked in the school building with all the other children. I found myself getting all choked up with love. When I looked up, there was only one other parent there obviously feeling as I did (tears were streaming down her face); the others were all too busy "capturing the moment" by taking movies or pictures. These parents may have documentation of the big day, but what feelings were they documenting? They definitely missed out.

Giving full attention to whatever you're doing as you go about your day and feeling the joy in each moment, leads to a sense of well-being and heightened awareness. I am naturally the type of person who has her head in the clouds, nose in a book (I actually walked into a pole once because I was reading on the street whilst walking.), so I found it very difficult to be constantly aware. I decided to practice in little bits and found that the more moments of joy and happiness I experienced, the easier it was to be more aware on a daily basis.

Here are some activities to help you practice living in the moment:
  • Hang out on the beach or in a coffee shop and watch the people go by. Notice what they're wearing, how they're walking. Eavesdrop on your neighbour's conversation. Make up stories about them. Taste your Seybrew or coffee as you're sipping it.
  • Find somewhere quiet and sit by yourself. Feel the wind, the sun on your face, the earth under your feet. Listen to the leaves rustling, the birds singing, water flowing.
  • Listen to soothing music with your eyes closed.
  • Dance to loud rhythmic music with your eyes closed. Feel the rhythm.
  • Cook and eat a tasty meal. Enjoy the aromas whilst you're cooking.
  • Make something. Get engrossed in your creation.
  • Go beachcombing. Be aware of the sounds of the waves, your breathing, the scents. Feel the sand under your feet.
  • Visit a busy market and listen to the clamour of the vendours touting their wares, look at the colours of the goods on offer, smell the different odours.
The more you open yourself up to living in the moment, the more you will experience it.

Some might say that islanders would do well to live a little less in the moment. Living in the moment all the time tends to lead to living on island time, which is nice and laid back. It's not so wonderful, though, if you're waiting for somebody on a street corner and their "living in the moment" has led them to be distracted from picking you up...

My mother held out for one year and then returned to Switzerland. All this "living in the moment" was too much for her. It's never too late too learn, though. Can anyone come up with an idea to convince her that our island way is The Way?

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