SAVOR THE ESSENCE OF LIFE
We’ve all experienced delicious moments in our lives, when we feel touched by and connected to the essence of life. These essence moments come when we are truly at peace, feeling that life is good and we have enough, we are not rushed, and we are connected to amazing people. It may be during a family reunion, a romantic dinner with a partner, an overdue catch-up conversation with a dear friend, or even a moment of solitude in nature. You know these moments – you feel them down to your toes and your heart smiles.
I’m convinced that these moments are the fountain of well-being. In fact, the popular concept of being mindful or more in the present moment stems from our soul’s yearning to have more of these precious essence moments. The challenge comes in making room for such experiences. Our modern world moves so fast with input coming from multiple sources that it may seem impossible to welcome the essence moments into your life. The good news is there are several simple steps you can take to capture and savor them even amidst the hectic pace of daily life.
One of the easiest ways to have an essence moment is to decide you will have one, at least once a day. Commit to creating and enjoying a sweet spot in every day. You could find a nourishing way to wake up in the morning. I am known for my slow wake up ritual. Maybe because I had to wake to the 6 a.m. alarm and be ready for legal battles by 8 a.m. for many years as a trial lawyer, I now relish a full hour to wake up slowly. I try to stop every day for just a minute and soak up the joy I get from my morning ritual. You might find the evening time is your sweet spot. A hot bath before bed is a no-fail way to capture and enjoy a few good moments.
Sometimes the essence moments come to us serendipitously when we take a few detours from our expected life path. One of my favorite classes in college was a seminar about the history of LA architecture. Every Friday we took a bus to visit some of the iconic buildings in Los Angeles and discuss the history of that period. This class had nothing to do with my major, which was Political Science, but I took the course to fill my electives. What a great twist! That class awakened in me a love of architecture and design that has brought me many essence moments admiring a skyline or an historical building. When the inner voice urges us to explore the path less traveled, we need to pay attention and be prepared to be surprised and delighted by what we find along that unplanned path.
Leaving pockets of open time in your schedule is a fun way to experience more essence moments. Try being a little early to your next few appointments – say 15 or 20 minutes early. When you arrive early, stop and take a breath. Realize you have ten whole minutes to check your phone, return a call, brush your hair and get to your appointment with a sense of ease. Just having the time to pause, catch a breath, and feel ease will become a very special moment. Of course it won’t last, but you can take the essence with you.
The majority of my essence moments have involved members of my tribe – the friends, family members, partners and colleagues with whom I laugh, cry, break bread, drink wine and love life. If your tribe does not feel as full as you would like, you can build up your tribe. Think about the people you really enjoy, the ones that fuel you, and list their traits. Consciously decide where more of these types of people would be, go there, and challenge yourself to make a few connections. This is the “tuna” theory. If you wanted to catch a tuna, you could drop your pole anywhere in the ocean and you might get very lucky to get a tuna. However, if you found out where the tuna swim, you could drop your pole there and most likely get one. So think about who is your tuna, your tribe, and how you can connect with them often.
My favorite way to enjoy the essence of life, for a moment, is to have a real conversation with a live person who is actually sitting next to me. I believe there is a primal need to make human contact and share from within. Our technology driven world makes this hard. We try to substitute human contact with Skype, text, e-mails and the rest, but it is not the same. The key is to pick a time for a pause, turn off the beeps and phone chimes, get close enough to feel the person’s energy and connect. Share a story from the day, ask for advice, or just enjoy listening to someone else. The chatter in our own head gets tiring. It is nice to pause and listen to what someone else is experiencing. This is an especially valuable skill when attending family gatherings. The event can go by in a blur of people and activities, but it can be a much richer visit if you take the time to pause and have some real conversations. Those moments will most likely be what you remember most!
Cindy Clemens is a life coach and motivational speaker who helps people redesign their lives and savor every moment. Find out more at www.cindyclemens.com