Have you ever been immersed in a moment that you wished would last forever—literally? Perhaps you are in the earliest days of a “Big Romance” and you want each moment with your beloved to drag on and on. It can be as if time stands still when you are with her and you have no concern for the past or the future—only for that slice of time right there between the two of you.
Maybe you stood there gazing at your brand new son—so amazingly perfect in whatever shape his misshapen newborn body has taken. You look at that tiny bundle of possibility and want to hold onto the sweet taste of this never before experienced rapture as long as you can.
Maybe you landed in the middle of a Zen moment while ambling through a nature preserve—struck by the awe inspiring beauty of a sunset that stretched across the sky and painted it with more colors that you ever knew could fit on the horizon.
Maybe you were in your kitchen, simply gathering the supplied needed ingredients to throw together a meal, and you caught a glimpse of the sun and felt a warmth inside knowing that in this moment, you were beginning the preparations of nurturing your body yet being unexpectedly nurtured by the sheer joy of being in that moment. Nothing special going on, no big “aha” moment, just a sense of peace, contentment, and revelation that the beauty of “now” is not predicated on any external circumstances.
Some people call it “flow,” that moment when you lose all track of time and you are immersed in engagement in some activity that fills you with satisfaction and gratification and you are spurred on by the sheer joy that engagement yields. You don’t feel the need to really “hold back time” in moments like this because it feels as if time has already ceased to exist.
This feeling, while akin to the experiences mentioned earlier, is different in that wanting to “capture the moment” is uniquely and experientially different than being “lost in the moment.” Being in flow, our brains have turned off the inner clock and we have dropped into what might be described as a novel reality. Not all of us will routinely experience this luxury in life, however, due to the pressing constraints that seem to bind us even tighter to the clock.
However, those fleeing moments of total awareness of the transitory nature of life’s sweetest joys is a gift of experience that the vast majority of us happen into from time to time. The gift of transience is that it has the potential to provide the most appreciative savoring that a person can enjoy. Trying to hold onto something too long can backfire—as most of us have discovered as we’ve tried to keep a romance alive when the flame has already burnt out. Sometimes the memory of something too delicate or combustible to be sustained can drop you back into that space where the moment was so sweet that you had tried to will it to slow down. In the case of some relationships, a memory is all that could possibly be the ultimate outcome—and you might have known that from the relationship’s inception. That, too, might have made it all the sweeter.
Next time you find yourself aware of the beauty of the leaves on a tree, the waves rolling into the shore, the heat of a touch, or the rhythmic whisper of a baby’s breath, let yourself pause in that moment and be present. Go ahead and imagine that you could hold back time or that this moment could last forever. Immerse yourself in that joy of now; then take a deep breath and hold this sense of perfection and completion. Even as you let out that deep breath, the transience of this moment may already be growing into your awareness—it’s like that first bite of summer corn straight from the garden, that first kiss with someone you’ve fantasized of being with, or that thrill you get when you are watching fireworks being ignited. These are experiences of being in the moment, savoring the now, being alive to experience, and getting out of your head. That’s what living should be about—immersing yourself in the experiences that surround you—savoring the moments in such a way that you lock the experiences into your memory.
What does it mean to be in the moment? It means to let your basic senses—taste, touch, smell, sight, and hearing—introduce you to the world around you. It is about conscious awareness of you in the world—not a thought being given to what anyone else thinks about your presence in the world. Mindfulness lowers your blood pressure, slows your respiration rate, gives your brain time to regroup, and brings you to a place of calm acceptance of the world around you.
Be here now. It’s where the savoring of life truly begins.
# # #
How Happy are You with Your Social Support Network?
If you would like to take part in a new research study designed to explore the relationship between social support and personal happiness, please follow this link: