Sunday, 8 May 2011

Put it down to experience...

Something I’ve been thinking about recently is the idea that life is not something that happens in the future, it is something that is happening right now.

This may seem like a fairly obvious thing to say, but, when you think about it, we seem to spend a lot of time figuring out and planning ‘what we want to do with our lives’, and sometimes we can forget to live.  I had a conversation a while ago with a friend of mine who asked me the very question, “What do you want to do with your life?”  I suppose I was trying to be profound and wise when I replied, “What do you mean?  This is my life – I’m doing it, right now, here, drinking coffee with you.” 

Contrived in its profundity or not, I think the sentiment is still true.  Whatever we’re doing now – whether drinking a cup of tea, texting a friend, listening to a radio show, or simply reading this blog – these are the things that we are doing with our lives.  Maybe it’s time to stop imagining that life is something we will get around to doing in the future, maybe when we’re married, or have a settled career, or we buy our first house/car/take a holiday abroad.  

All these things are perfectly valid things to aspire to and want in the future, but let’s not lose sight of the here and now, of the time we have each moment to do something that we want to do, and can enjoy.  Savour these moments, experience them, enjoy them – they won’t come again, and who knows what the future does or doesn’t hold.

I’ve been looking at the concept of Mindfulness recently, something that has come from my Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.  Here's a video from one of the developers of Mindfulness therapy talking about it:

I think this seizing-of-the-moment relates to being 'mindful': taking the time to hold each feeling, activity, and the sensations they bring.  In this way, even a negative emotion can hold a sense of fascination – we are alive, with the ability to experience so many different things, even the negative things.  To have such experiences is a gift; they are things we can look back on and say ‘I did that; I felt that’, building up a rich tapestry of…life.  

I want to be someone who, at 70 years old can say I’ve been through both the highs and lows of life, for they are both worthwhile, they are both part of existence.  The joy is in simply being alive to be able to feel them.

Of course, the next time I get hit by the steam-train of an unwanted event, I may not be so pleased about feeling down.  But it’s certainly something to aspire to.

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