Almost done with work. Almost the weekend. Almost time to eat. Almost time to go. Almost bed time. Almost done with this workout. Almost done with classes.
Then, it will be better.
Someday. When all the stars have aligned, our lives will begin.
In that perfect moment, we’ll be alive. We’ll be happy. We’ll want to be present.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who falls into a cycle of waiting–watching the clock–wishing the time away. Almost done with work. Almost the weekend. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Waiting for later.
“But then,” says Eckhart Tolle, “you miss your whole life, which is never not now.”
What would happen if next time you find yourself watching the clock, you stop and ask yourself big questions like: Where am I? Who am I? What is happening right now? Why am I doing this? What is good and beautiful right here, right now? What is meaningful right here, right now?
Wishing time away becomes a habit. Our entire lives can slip away while we’re waiting for them to begin.
How can you break that habit? (Right this moment?)
I have this compulsive habit of doing stuff on my days off. Lots of stuff. Too much stuff. It’s all stuff I love to do, totally worthwhile. I get really pumped about all these things I can do with all my free time. And then I do as much of the happy stuff as I can. But sometimes the more happy stuff I do, the less happy I feel.
In fact, I often find myself feeling anxious when I have spare time. Anxious that I won’t make the best of it. Anxious that I won’t do enough stuff that needs to be done or that I want to do. Anxious that the time will run out too quickly.
Does that ever happen to you? You get to the end of a weekend or a vacation, only to realize you spent so much time worrying about making the most of it that it slipped right through your fingers?
A couple weeks ago I took an afternoon off. This time I decided on a whim to go for a walk. No running, just a walk. No earbuds. No phone. Just walking and being with myself. Lots of freedom to think and feel. And see things! Things I don’t notice when I’m hurrying. Things like a colorful grasshopper I watched up close for a while.
I felt more peace and happiness in that quiet hour than I do in some entire weekends packed full of stuff to do. These kind of days always end up being my favorite.
I don’t think the problem is the stuff I do, either. One thing isn’t necessarily better or worse than the next. Some people take walks, some people go for runs, some people watch movies, and some people read books–and no matter what the activity, they can feel complete peace and freedom the whole while.
I think the key is incredibly simple. Whatever you are choosing to do, be there.
Be where you are right now. Notice the present moment. Your life in this world at this moment is exploding with color and music and flavor and feeling. But we spend so much time trying to make sure that right now becomes a good memory, that we miss the very thing we wanted the great memory to be about. We spend so much time trying to make this moment great, that we don’t see how incredible this moment already is.
Are you going to miss this moment?
“Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now. And that’s a revelation for some people: to realize that your life is only every now.” – Eckhart Tolle