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Peaceful forestWhat does living in the moment mean to you? Is it mindfulness, flow, or something else? Where are you when you live in the moment? Is it easier when you’re in a certain place–or doing something in particular?

Mindfulness and flow defined: Wikipedia talks about mindfulness as “present-centered awareness” and acceptance of whatever is. Csikszentmihalyi, a psychology professor and author, created the concept of flow, of living in the moment when time flies because you’re completely and utterly part of whatever it is that you’re doing.

Calm serenity: My ideal of mindfulness is having the opportunity to sit outside on a mountain top, on a quiet beach at sunset, or somewhere that’s calm and secluded. It gives me the chance to feel the wind caress my hair, hear the sound it makes through trees, feast my eyes on the landscape—the colours, the textures, and the shapes—and just be. I feel any tension leave my body, become aware of my breath…and just be. Time becomes irrelevant. I feel connected to the earth. There is no beginning or end to me or the universe. We are one and the same.

Focused concentration: There are times when I rock climb that I really get into flow. I would say it’s like a mini holiday or like meditation. I have no chance to think about the things I have to do or anything that’s worrying or bothering me. I think about where I am on the rock, what’s going to be my next move, and how great it feels to conquer my fears and get past a really difficult move. I watch my friend climb, how she gets past a sketchy area, how she’s making her way up the pitch, and cheer her on. Time flies and although it seems like we just got there, we’ve been there all day and it’s time to go home. I feel relaxed and rejuvenated.

The to-do list: The only problem is I can’t do those things every day. Often times, life demands I attend to the million-and-one things on my to-do list. It can sometimes seem like the list just keeps growing even though I’m doing my damn best to get it done. I can feel pulled in different directions, the multi-tasking can begin to fall apart, and I crave the opportunity to live in the moment.

Life’s moments: There are times though–amidst the chaos—that I get caught in the moment. Take this last weekend. I was helping my sister move. It was hard work packing boxes, carrying them down the stairs, loading and unloading them from the truck into her new house, and helping with some unpacking. As the hours went on, I enjoyed the day. I liked spending some time with my niece and nephew, watching them with their friends and appreciating their help with the move. I enjoyed giving my sister a hand, liked the feeling of accomplishment, and actually enjoyed the physical work. I was completely in the moment—just spending time with them working.

What is living in the moment for you? Do the ideas of mindfulness or flow fit for you? What helps you ‘be’ where you are in a full and rich way no matter where you are or what you’re doing? I’d appreciate your comments!!

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