Sometimes, despite our best efforts, life gets very full. We find ourselves overbooked, overscheduled, overcommitted, and with diminishing time and energy to handle all of the overload. For me, what usually ensues is a state of rushing. Rushing from home to school, school to work, work to school, school to activities, activities to home. Rushing through mealtimes and bathtimes and bedtimes. Rushing through paperwork and homework.
Rushing through opportunities for conversation. Rushing through heartfelt questions. Rushing through silly jokes and impromptu dance parties.
And then, without my knowledge, soon enough, rushing becomes a habit. I rush even when there is no reason to rush. Even when there is no where to be and nothing urgent to do, my mind fills up with a list of pending tasks. I start to hurry, but I am not sure why.
I have found myself rushing through breakfast on vacation so we can start sightseeing. Or rushing through nightly hugs and kisses so I can go clean the kitchen on a Saturday evening.
Where are we all rushing to so fast?
It is almost as though we imagine that the next moment is somehow more valuable or important than the one we are currently experiencing. If we could just make it there, we would have arrived. In the next moment, life will be better. I will have accomplished something. I will have survived my day to finally enjoy my night.
But life doesn’t work that way. The next moment is never guaranteed. Life can only unfold for us in the present moment, the one that we are living in this specific second. The only thing that happens as we bypass this moment for the next, is a continual missing out on our current experience.
Is there a way to slow ourselves down? Of course, if there are ways to decrease our load, that is a first step. But even when we can’t do that, we can focus our attention on the moment in front of us. Paying attention to our present moment doesn’t actually require more time of us; but our sensation and experience of the moment expands.
We can find magic in the ordinary minutes of our life, if we slow down enough to live them.
As I write this, my children are sitting ten feet away from me, watching a movie as they always do on Sunday evenings. They are sitting, completely immersed in their movie, oblivious to me and my typing. They are not worried about the argument we had an hour ago. They are not concerned about gathering their things for camp tomorrow. They are watching a movie, fully.
And ten feet away from me to the other side, a little hamster is beginning his nightly routine of running furiously on his wheel. Around and around and around he goes, perhaps wondering where the finish line is, and when he will reach it.
I would like to be a little less hamster, a little more child.
So today, and in the week ahead, I invite you to join me in drawing attention to all of the rushing we are doing. Can we start to notice our rushing in actual life, and rushing in our psychological life too? What would happen if we could live this moment as if it were just as important as the next?
With gratitude, Monisha