During the week I went to a local supermarket and for some reason noticed the little ride on car which boldly sat in red and yellow waiting for children to put coins in it's slots so that it could take them for a magical ride.
I felt sad.
My children are too old now for coin slot, ride on toys; their time has past to sit and giggle as they are rocked oblivious to the hurrying shoppers, and my sadness was not only from the realization of how time has passed, but also from regret that I didn't let them ride in the car often enough when they wanted to and could.
We sometimes did stop and play, but more often I was in a rush to get the shopping done, to get home, to get tea on. I was so busy with what had to happen next that I wasn't in the moment with my kids making each moment fun.
I regret that.
So many of those moments have passed. The age where they want a piggy back, or a tickle fight, their help putting their socks on. They no longer want those things. The time for me to share those moments with them has gone.
Life can feel so busy, and our heads so full of what has just happened or what we need to do next that it is easy to miss what is happening now; what is in front of us now, that may never happen again.
There are parents the world over who have a child one day and not the next. We are all children who will not always have our parents and yet we live as if there is always another day, another time, we can do it later. Later doesn't always come.
If we could really grasp how precious each moment is, wouldn't we stop and stare at the snail with our children, wouldn't we say 'yes' more often to games and hugs and questions? Wouldn't we prioritize that phone call home, the visit, the pop in for a cuppa?
The good news is it is never too late to be in the moment, you can start this moment, and this moment and this moment.
Being in the moment requires 4 qualities:
You need to have the intention to be in the moment, to connect with another person as they are right now doing and being what they are right now. You have to make a decision to be in the moment and to drop thoughts of what has passed and what is to come.
We think we are paying attention when we are watching the TV or listening to the radio, but most of the time our attention is split, we are half listening and half watching whilst thinking of something else or doing something else. Paying attention means focusing on one thing, one child, one person, one game of cards. It takes intention to focus our attention on one thing and one thing or moment only.
In order to know if we are paying attention, we need to be aware. Aware of what our mind is up to. We need to notice when it has wondered off from listening to your child read to thinking about work. With awareness you will catch yourself when you notice that you want to hurry your child up, even when there is no need to. The more aware we become, the more we will notice how distracted we are and once we are aware that our mind has wondered off to what to cook for tea, then you can re-assert your intention to be wholly present with your child and bring your attention back to them.
Curiosity is an openness, and interest in what is happening rather than being closed down by expectations. You might 'know' how to play scrabble, but how does your child want to play it? Do you have to follow the rules or could you just enjoy the game their way. When we are curious we drop expectation and judgement and let things unfold, co-creating them together.
These are qualities which we can cultivate in all our relationships. How often are you 100% focused on your partner as they tell you about their day? How often did you stop everything to listen to a co-worker?
- So who would you like to be in the moment with?
- When was the last time you felt that someone was completely in the moment with you?
- What's happening around you as you read this? Experiment those 4 qualities in this moment, right now
Being in the moment is a practice, and takes practice. But every moment of awareness with attention is one more memory built, one more moment cherished, one more deep connection made, so surely it is something worth practicing?
Have a good day.