Take a Moment to Consider Your Moments that Matter

We spend most of our days busily going about things that need to get done. Each day is fairly similar to the one before. If we aren’t focused on the task at hand, we are usually thinking about a recent occurrence or something we have yet to do. It is rare to block out these fore- and afterthoughts, even for a moment.

When we experience a moment of full presence, often spontaneously, it should be savoured. In a short moment, you can feel completely at peace, satisfied.

I find these moments cannot truly be planned, despite my desire for their tranquility. Even meditation, a time of focused attention, does not bring about the feeling to which I am referring. However, there are some patterns or circumstances most apt to precipitate these moments.

For me, three scenes come to mind. The first involves a vista, ideally of a lake or ocean, but my backyard will do. The morning sun is shining, warm on my skin. The breeze is cool, though, and rustles leaves on nearby trees. I have a warm coffee mug cupped in both hands and I’m leaning on the railing, looking out. I close my eyes briefly, enhancing the feeling of opposing temperatures from sun and wind, as well as the white noise from the moving foliage. In this moment I am free. I am part of the scene. Then my coffee cools down, the screen door opens, and life comes rushing back.

The second is with my children. They are close in age, 19 months between them. Catherine, the older one, is a kind and gentle soul with a tremendous sense of curiosity. John is a passionate little boy who loves his sister dearly, but also loves to take things to the limit. The dynamic makes life interesting, busy, fun, infuriating, stressful, and full of joy in quick succession. When those two get along, speak kind words to each other, and demonstrate their deep bond, I feel a moment of pure love and pride.

These two scenarios are mine. Yours may be similar, but undoubtedly different in important and individual ways. The third, though, we all share.

No matter what happened during our day, be it success, failure, aggravation, happiness, the mundane, we all return to the same moment, alone with our thoughts. This is the moment right before we are overcome with sleep. Even if you have a bed partner, there is a quiet period before sleep when it’s just you. This moment is a daily gift. The day is done, there is still a buffer before the next. This is generally a time of rumination, your mind now free from tasks. We reflect on the day gone by, worry about loved ones, wonder if we said the right thing, swell with pride, or escape from it all. In this moment you experience a bellwether of your well-being. Are you happy? Are you anxious? Are you dreading what’s next? Are you looking forward to what lies ahead?

This recurring moment is an opportunity to take stock. When everything else is put away for the day, where does you mind go? Everything that happened is done, cannot be changed. Can you accept that?

I suggest that you should. What’s done is done. Then think, even if today was great, “How can tomorrow be better, how can I do better?” This moment is a chance to be progressive. Don’t worry about all the tasks you have to do. They will be waiting for you in the morning. Dwelling will not help. Right now, you get to sit with your unique human experience, no matter how briefly, before sleep.

For me, the thought of coming back to these moments brings me joy. I hope you think about yours and take steps toward moulding an environment that promotes them, allowing you to capture the essence of your own experience.