One of my favourite photographs is of my brother sitting on the beach at Sestri Levante – about 35 miles South of Genoa in Italy. He’s wearing shorts and a Tee shirt and wiggling his toes in the sand. At the same time he’s finalising a business deal on his mobile. Back in the day mobiles were still new and so is a bit more remarkable in that respect, especially as there was actually a signal on the beach.
What I like most about the photo though, is that it reminds me how important it is to live in the moment. He’s there, on the beach, in full holiday mode. Then the phone goes. For five minutes my brother is in full business mode and then, as soon as the call ends, he’s back in holiday mode. There’s no hangover from one moment to the next. I kind of envy him for that.
The ability to live in the moment is a precious gift and one I’m still trying to master. Stuff happens at work and at home. Competing demands for time and energy lead to ever decreasing me-time. It’s oh so easy for one event or situation to spill over or leak into the next one. The negative emotions tag along, infecting the next interaction and what starts out as as an unhelpful conversation turns into a bad day for everyone. It’s especially true for me at the moment and it’s made me very aware of the dangers of allowing emotions to spill over and spoil future happiness and past memories.
Life can be stressful enough without adding to it ourselves. Learning to live in the moment won’t necessarily stop bad things happening, but it can allow you to set down those things that caused you pain and move forward with a lighter heart. There’s a current trend for Mindfulness and that may be a really useful technique to learn. I read a book (or should I call it a parable) a while back called The Present by Spencer Johnson, which contained some really useful lessons. However you choose to do it though, make more of each moment, once it’s gone – it’s gone.