The Gift of Ordinary Moments
Five Ways to Live More Fully
“Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments—often ordinary moments. Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down the extraordinary moments.”
– Brené Brown
So often, in our culture, we get swept up in the notion that we will find joy or “arrive” at a certain point in the future. We live for Friday, for vacation, for the next milestone and so forth. We will be “happy” when a certain goal is achieved, when the workday is done, when we meet the perfect partner and so forth. And just as often, these pinnacle moments are soured a bit by a creeping awareness of their fleeting nature.
By inviting awareness into ordinary moments—those in-between, seemingly mundane happenings—we can increase joy and savor our lives as they unfold.
There are many ways to celebrate and find richness in our day-to-day lives:
A long, slow breath does wonders for resetting your day. Breathing deeply and fully helps your body and mind to relax, and suddenly that pesky spiraling in your brain begins to settle. Full, deliberate breaths seem to automatically create happiness. We can use the breath to ground ourselves, and that becomes a launchpad for experiencing the present moment in many ways.
Notice Body Sensations.
Where are you holding tension? How is your heart rate? Is there any pain? Which parts of your body are buzzing with energy, and which parts feel fatigued? Perhaps you notice a chill, a crop of goosebumps, or a flush of warmth? Hone in on something that feels pleasant or comfortable. Dig deeper into that feeling. What does it feel like to be you, in your body, in this moment?
One Thing At A Time.
Take a step back from multi-tasking. Focus on one thing in the moment. Whatever you’re doing, do it fully. If you’re out for a walk, notice the sights, sounds, smells and feelings of the moment. When working on a task, bring your full attention to each step. Eat mindfully and slowly. Make little moments meditative. You’ll be amazed at how many things jump alive that would otherwise be missed when you’re enmeshed in many tasks and thoughts at once.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but it can be hard! Many of us spend a good chunk of our days in front of a screen or on our phones. By unplugging or walking away from our devices for a little while, we have an opportunity to interact with and experience the world on a more authentic level. Be in the moment fully, without distraction. Feel what it means to connect to yourself, others and your surroundings. Find a handful of little things to smile at. Find joy in what is right in front of you.
Cultivate it every day. Make a list (mental or written) of everything you’re grateful for, everything that’s going right in your life, everything that makes life better and brighter. As you bring awareness to passing moments and sensations, appreciate your ability to be fully awake and enjoy them.
“Find a way of infusing ordinary moments with subtle magic.”
– John Mark Green
As uneventful as ordinary moments often seem, they comprise the majority of our lives, and we always have an opportunity to make them beautiful. In being present and aware of these moments, we open the door to create pockets of happiness everywhere.