Creating moments to be present in a noisy world

Have you ever read a quote that takes your breath away?

When I stumbled on this beautiful quote by Alan Wilson Watts I could feel the world slow down around me.  How incredibly true, I thought.  As someone prone to consuming life I could relate to the words I was reading.

All too often I catch myself saying “done that, tick that off the list” when it comes to things in life that shouldn’t be accomplishments but rather experiences. Moments.  But I work through them efficiently like a mechanic runs through their list of points to inspect in a car.  Reviewing, assessing, ticking … and then moving on in the hope that once complete the whole unit will run smoothly.

But Im never complete.  each time I reach the end of my to-do list I find another one, each one more ambitious than the last, each one more exciting and eye-catching and distracting from things that mean something.  Each one promising a sense of fulfilment to which Im genuinely surprised when it doesn’t.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away states Vicki Corona, and how poignantly true.

Ask me what I did at midday last Tuesday and I couldn’t tell you, but ask me about the last time I belly-laughed, the last time I jumped on a trampoline with my daughter, the last time I cried watching a movie… now those things I can recall and recite as if they happened a moment ago.

So why do we push incessantly, trying to cram more into our days without stopping to think what moments we’re sacrificing in the pursuit of accomplishment.  When we lay our heads on the pillow each night, smug in the knowledge we’ve ’had a busy day’ how often do we stop to think whether we had a meaningful day.  Not me. Not often enough.

Finding the space to slow down is hard.  In a word that baits us to speed up it takes a rare person to swim against the tide and practice saying no.

We’re living in the noisiest time in history,

When even moments of silence are punctuated by iPods, or Facebook updates, where our need for instant gratification is met.

This year is my year of saying ‘yes’.  A year of saying yes sooner, of not doubting myself and of prioritising the things I cant live without accomplishing. Its been an awesome year where Ive gone for things I usually wouldn’t, and tried out things I usually wouldn’t but the sacrifice of creating the big moments often means that the little everyday moments get squeezed out.  It’s a work in progress, but isn’t life?