Text Size

Search Articles

More By This Author

More From This Category

Article Information


By Trish Patrick in All Sorts

Living in the moment, and being present to the moment, means absorbing or savouring the experience as it unfolds.

Of late I've been intrigued with the trend and sometimes fixation on 'making memories'. Closely related to this, and slightly different, is the rise of the 'Bucket list'. I suspect both these trends have their origins in the US and have since captured global imagination. With the proliferation of social media, its fascinating watching people capturing every imaginable situation, every meal, every treat, on their mobiles. At outdoor concerts people are filming and taking endless photos of the event.
The bucket list is more likely to be the preserve of the older generation who often strive to fulfil an ambition or ambitions, sometimes daring feats like sky diving, before they 'kick their bucket' so to speak. Sometimes these exploits find their way onto TV and into the Guiness Book of Records. Particularly if the person has celebrated many, many birthdays. All of us want to optimize the time allotted to us and sometimes feel 'short- changed' when it doesn't live up to our expectations, which are driven by others seemingly more exciting lives. Then there is the challenge of remembering it all....hopefully!!
Memories are interesting things, if somewhat ephemeral. If you think about it, our entire lives are memories. We only have the present moment, the here and the now. Everything else is either in the future, which we may or may not have... or in the past which we may or may not remember.
There's nothing wrong with bucket lists, and intentional memory making, but there is a risk that we will miss 'living in the moment' which is, after all, all we can be certain of. Living in the moment, and being present to the moment, means absorbing or savouring the experience as it unfolds.
When we are trawling our memories, sometimes regrets niggle or even overwhelm us as we recall mistakes made, and the phrase ' I should have' is ever present. Sometimes these regrets loom larger than the reality they inhabited. Its good to remember in those moments the words of Colin's hymn....'nothing is lost on the breath of god...nothing is lost forever'. Whatever the truth of the remembered situation ...the loving spirit that is God will ensure that 'all things shall be well, all manner of things shall be well'...So said Mother Julian of Norwich... An English mystic of the Middle Ages.
A few weeks ago I was listening to an interview with Dawn French. The interviewer asked her 'Did she have a bucket-list?' I was a little surprised to hear her answer 'no'. She went on to explain that she found enormous pleasure and delight in the every day routines and comforts, like coffee with a friend or her partner, visiting with family, a cosy room in winter, a good book etc. She called these delights 'attainable joys'.
I loved that concept. It resonated with 'living in the moment' and not constantly hankering for something less easily attainable. Some of our most intensely meaningful and treasured moments are right under our noses....and cost nothing. Losing ourselves in a good book, intentionally noting the exquisite beauty of the plentiful if annoying lawn daisy. Coffee with a friend. A hot shower. Listening to a favourite piece of music...allowing it to wash gently over our senses and soak into our souls.
In those moments, we will come home to ourselves and learn truths as yet unrevealed.
As TS Eliot says in his lovely poem...
And at the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive where we started
and to know the place for the first time.
Trish Patrick