Put Yourself on Notice to Notice!

Maybe you subscribe, as I do, to the wisdom of living one day at a time. However, you may find a better approach in one minute at a time, especially when you’re under stress. “Being in the moment” makes much more sense than looking back at events you cannot change or peering fearfully into the future. It’s about being grateful for what you have and for what’s going on right now.

Children are brilliant at this. You cannot imagine my delight when, on a family trip to the countryside, I overheard my nine-year-old granddaughter saying to her six-year-old brother, “Let’s lie on our backs and watch the clouds.”

Yes, lets.

It wasn’t so long ago that some of you were doing just that. Embarrassingly, it has been many years since I’ve gazed at the clouds, although I remember the last time as if it were yesterday. It is one of those moments you savor for a lifetime. My granddaughter Abbie was yet again the catalyst (I see a future for her as a cloud docent). We were lying on our backs beside a stream, looking at the sky through the branches of the trees. The leaves were rustling in their endlessly beautiful song. I turned to Abbie and said, “Do you know what the trees are saying?” She asked, “What?” and I responded, “They are telling us, “All is well. All is very very well!”

It’s important to remember that.

I’m not saying that sometimes things aren’t well; sometimes they really, really stink. But have you noticed how much of your stress is about things that haven’t happened and may never happen? Or you’re fretting over events that have already occurred and cannot be changed. During those times of stress, it’s important to remember that right at this moment, all is well.

The gift of being grateful for what I have right now is what helped pull me out of a 30-year depression. And, being the slow learner that I am, I have to remind myself to practice gratitude on a moment-by-moment basis.

If your ability to be in the moment has gotten rusty, take time today to practice. Oh, sure, it would be nice if your boss allowed you to gaze out the window and daydream but I doubt that would be met with much approval. I work for myself and I can tell you my boss won’t let me do that!

Even so, practicing being in the now is something you can do all day long. It’s about noticing. For example, right now I’m noticing how easily I can type this sentence and taking delight in my ability to do so. Take this moment to notice how well you read as your eyes glide over these words.

Look around you. What pleases you as you look at it? Are there co-workers who make you smile? Is there work in front of you that will keep you absorbed until it’s time to go home?

All this may sound corny, but it works!

You take much more for granted than you know until you take the time to notice it. The phrase “an embarrassment of riches” applies to all of us. If we are present to these riches and savor them each moment, they cease to be an embarrassment and become, instead, a delight.

When you mix the ability to be in the moment with a sense of gratitude for what you possess just then, the result is a childlike appreciation for life as it’s happening right now.

Life, it turns out, is well worth noticing.

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