How has your challenge to embrace every moment gone so far this month? Have you been able to better appreciate some of life’s little or hidden moments and to seek out meaning in your interactions and situations? We certainly hope that you have!
Often, our practical tips will encourage some action that you can take to either shift your perspective to a more optimistic one or help others to see the value of optimism. Even the theme of this month – embracing – is an action. But this month our practical tips are a bit different, because while we do believe that taking action is often the right response, sometimes the right (and the most optimistic) action you can take – is no action at all.
Think about this for a minute – when was the last time that you just did nothing?
When you sat outside a bit longer just because the breeze and sunshine felt nice, or when you curled up on your couch with hot chocolate and a fuzzy blanket and listened to the rain outside? And, most importantly, when you let your mind just live in that moment instead of buzzing from your to-do list to the text messages and e-mails you hadn’t answered yet. Like so many of us, it’s likely those moments are few and far between. But our team has been challenging each other lately to stop and enjoy moments like this, just for their own sake. These moments are often refreshing, relaxing – and sometimes unexpectedly wonderful, resulting in a spontaneous friendship, a new favorite place, a discovered passion.
But it’s important to remember that the good moments aren’t the only ones worth embracing. Having an optimistic viewpoint means being able to see moments for what they are, even – maybe especially – when what they are is sad and dark, and knowing that relief will come. Just as a flashlight does only so much good in the light of day but is invaluable in the dark, so too optimism helps us most when it’s hardest to come by. Life is comprised of good and beautiful things, but also hard, ugly, and inexplicable things. And the harmony of all of these things together is what gives life meaning. So let yourself embrace the difficult emotions, instead of just boxing them up and blazing ahead. And remember that, however dark it may get, the dawn is always ahead.
Click to tweet: Life is comprised of good and beautiful things, but also hard, ugly, and inexplicable things. And the harmony of all of these things together is what gives life meaning.
So this month, our practical action tips for embracing the moment are centered around inaction:
- Meditate: Meditation can be difficult, because the goal is to be able to clear your mind of all the racing thoughts that are our constant companions. But just like most of us would need physical training to be able to run a marathon, our minds need training and conditioning as well. Some “introductory exercises” might be finding a mindless task around the house – like washing the dinner dishes by hand or weeding the garden – or coloring a picture. Once you’ve established a “workout routine,” you’ll find it takes less effort to clear your mind. And when your mind is clear of distractions, it’s much easier to be present.
- Celebrate the beautiful imperfections: Often, the most poignant moments in sports are those when something went wrong and it was the reaction that made it memorable – like someone finishing a race or event despite a crippling injury. That’s because imperfections are what make situations and things – and people – unique. Imperfections are the cracks that let us see below the surface to the substance of what’s inside. Life is like that too – in fact life is never perfect, and it never will be. But if we let go of our desire for control and perfection and just enjoy the beauty that’s already there, we’ll likely be surprised by finding even more beneath the surface.
- Embrace the things that we can’t fix: In those bad moments that we mentioned earlier, often our first reaction is to jump in and try to fix it. But there are times when, not only would we be unable to fix a painful situation, but we shouldn’t try. Sometimes, pain needs to be felt for healing to begin, and as optimists we need to learn to recognize these moments, and remember that they have meaning and there’s value to experiencing them fully – and they won’t last forever.
- Give yourself time to do nothing: Take 10-15 minutes (or give yourself permission to lose track of time) to just sit in the moment, without needing to act or look at you phone or fill up the space
- Put down your camera: Whether it’s a picturesque sunset or a selfie-worthy lunch with a friend, fight the urge to pull your camera out. Instead, stay focused on the moment, and allow yourself to download a memory instead of a photo.
Do you have a situation in your life right now where it’s difficult for you to find the optimistic angle? Have you been able to just sit and enjoy the little moments of life lately? What are your favorite methods of inaction, so that you can be more present in one or the other? We’d love to hear about them via our e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook or Instagram.
The Davine Team