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:
Some similar, but more intense versions of these examples are:
EXPENSIVE delicious meals
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.
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.