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  • Writer's pictureMichael Apollo Lira

Where are you right now?

I have a busy mind.


It's frequently preoccupied and distracted - more often than it ought to be, in all truth. I often find myself thinking about the future; coming up with things I need to take care of, or creatively scheming what needs to happen in my life to continue to grow and have fun. While it's important to have your sights set forward, it's also incredibly important to be sure you're paying attention to the now. It's where you are! It's where life's happening, and it requires your attention and appreciation!


If we spend our entire lives planning for the future, the entirety of our lives could slip right past us while we blindly look forward.


So often with busy minds, we are occupied with thoughts about what needs to be done still, or what might be next on the to-do list. If we distract ourselves from the present too greatly, we rob ourselves of what's on our plates and immediately in front of us. This is a realization that I make time and time again - most often when I catch myself being distracted in the midst of some of life's most important and enjoyable moments.

Some good examples of these moments are:

  • Massages

  • Vacations

  • Celebrations

  • Delicious Meals

  • Dates

Some similar, but more intense versions of these examples are:

  • EXPENSIVE massages

  • EXPENSIVE vacations

  • EXPENSIVE celebrations

  • EXPENSIVE delicious meals

  • EXPENSIVE dates

Why the hell should my mind be anywhere else but IN those moments when they're happening?? Especially when I'm paying good money!


Most recently, this failure to appreciate the moment occurred in the midst of an incredible (ie EXPENSIVE) massage that I was receiving. A song came on and I found myself somewhat charmed and hypnotized by its pleasantly calm, serene mood. I hadn't even realized that my mind had wandered off elsewhere until the song caught my attention and helped me snap out of it. And I realized: here I am, in the middle of one of the best things I could possibly experience, and my mind wasn't even in the here and now.


What a disservice to myself! A professional masseuse is spoiling me and my senses with soothing music, fragrant oils, a glorious full body massage - and I'm out to lunch!


WHAT GIVES, MICHAEL APOLLO LIRA?!

I've been trying my best to make efforts to appreciate the details of the moments I experience instead of being distracted by my to-do lists. I've found that catching myself being distracted and asking "Where are you right now?" forces an honest answer from myself that generally helps steer me back into the moment I might be missing, and start taking in details and feeling what's in front of me.


Having a birthday and a very thoughtful significant other has also helped with this effort. We're currently on a much needed vacation, and one of the amazing things I got to experience on this trip was Star Wars Land at Disneyland.


The entry into Star Wars Land occurs through a small, rocky tunnel. There is a mystical, mysterious, ambient type of music that occupies that entry space. It isn't loud, overwhelming, or terribly remarkable. But it sounds of curiosity, beauty, imagination, and something else beyond who and what we are. It is exactly what I think The Force would sound like, if you could listen to it. And it immediately brought a smile to my face. It would set the tone and mood for what I was about to step into - an entirely different world that used to only exist in the hungry imagination I had as a child, and the Star Wars movies that I watched countless times.


This is the face of a Star Wars nerd who is trying very hard to not let the lump in his throat get the best of him. My S.O. is by far one of the most thoughtful people out there.


I was present for this birthday journey and all of the fun adventures we went on that day. And I had the time of my life. Here are some really cool things I that I saw:

Buttons that I was most certainly NOT allowed to push

The Millennium Falcon! And you better believe I got to ride in it for a smuggling mission!

Kylo Ren's ship...and Kylo Ren (not pictured).

I awkwardly waved at Kylo, and he just stared at me.

A Cantina!

All kinds of neat odds and ends that made this place exactly what it is.


It is very easy to unintentionally sabotage one's self with busy thoughts. But I think it is an exercise in discipline to simply exist, be present, experience, and appreciate the moments we are feeling and living in - in real time. Good moments aren't always there, but they merit all the full appreciation we can give them, because very few things are forever.


One day, when time is more scarce, we will look back and realize that some things could have been appreciated more if we had actually been present to appreciate them.


For me, I will continue this exercise in discipline, and I will do my best to focus on being present, IN the present. For if I invest in making now count, my tomorrow will surely be even better.



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6 Comments


thevoice
thevoice
Sep 16, 2021

Michael, I love this post. On the surface it seems a small thing to say we should be present "in the moment" to appreciate the good when it comes. Like many foundational truths, it is simple, but incredibly powerful. Indeed, I believe being in the moment with appreciation and a thankful heart is one of the most important disciplines there is to have a fulfilling life.


I remember being slapped upside the head with this realization myself - and coincidentally, it happened at Disney World. I had been taking video for two days, doing my grandpa thing, trying to preserve the experience as our granddaughters were mesmerized by the castle, the princesses and the rides. Midway through the second day…

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Michael Apollo Lira
Michael Apollo Lira
Sep 16, 2021
Replying to

Jon! Thank you so much for your response!! I love your insights and thoughts. I think the challenge is striking that balance. I love being able to look back at photos of memories, because memory can be such a fickle thing sometimes! But on the flip side it's SO IMPORTANT to soak in an experience WHILE it's happening. That's the stuff that life is truly made out of. Thank you for the great response my good man

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Josh Alexander
Josh Alexander
Sep 15, 2021

OH.MY.GOSH.THE.GEEK.IN.ME.IS.SO.FREAKING.JEALOUS.RIGHT.NOW.THAT.I.AM.SEETHING.AND.JEALOUS.AND.DID.I.MENTION.JEALOUS.IN.CASE.I.FORGOT.TO.SAY.IT.I.AM.JEALOUS!


What a great place to be! And what a great space to be IN. Good for you, MAL. I absolutely am seething with jealousy right now and hope you'll bring me back a power converter from Tosche Station please. There's a good lad.


Seriously though: "Good moments aren't always there, but they merit all the full appreciation we can give them, because very few things are forever." Why are you not sharing this from a pulpit somewhere? I think you missed your calling.

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Josh Alexander
Josh Alexander
Sep 15, 2021
Replying to

GAH! Blasted Biggs, where were you?!?!?!

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