Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Like There’s No Tomorrow

If you knew it were your last moment, what would you desire to be doing?

Bella learned the importance of living in the moment when she was in college and a professor of hers asked his students to participate in an exercise… 

“He asked that we choose something, anything, to do, but that we be in the present while doing so; using all of our senses to really live the experience…and live it like we were doing it for the last time.   

While my chosen activity seems a bit silly now (drinking my morning cup of coffee) I have to tell you that I never drank another cup of coffee the same way again.

Now every time I do so, I savor it, inhale its aroma, and really take my time.  In not taking things, events, or people for granted, we learn to appreciate the beauty and joy they bring to our lives.   Wouldn't you agree?”

Last Time Scenarios

Stuart would be watching the World Series, eating buttered popcorn in his favorite red bowl.   If given a choice, he’d hold on until after the 9th inning…  

We’d find Sharon relaxing on her back screened-in porch, rays of afternoon sunlight warm on her skin... absorbed in a page turner until “the end.”

On Saturday I catch a sneak preview of what the last time might look like...

As North Carolina is slammed by ruthless tornadoes ripping through one county after another… decimating homes, leveling buildings, uprooting trees... tearing off roofs…

Debris flying… insulation scattering... gates and fences strewn about like tinker toys…power lines dangling across streets… cars and semis flipped over…    

 I hunker down in the living room with my daughter, Abi, and watch all the devastation on a local TV station.  Twenty-five tornadoes claiming homes and lives.

 We learn from the map they show that we’re next in line… 

Trees grow wild outside and roaring winds threaten to lift us into eternity.   I envision our home spinning through sky (with us inside) as seen on The Wizard of Oz.  

Lights begin to flicker… Soon we’ll be in the dark – both in the literal and figurative sense.   Abi takes out her cell phone and starts texting.   Come to find out she’s tweeting this message:

“We’re in the middle of a tornado… I’m freakin’ petrified… and my mom is eating chocolate chip cookies!”

 That’s right… devouring leisurely chewing those sweets like there’s no tomorrow.   

I cannot predict the future… I cannot change the past…

I have just the present moment… I must treat it as my last.

If you knew there was no tomorrow, what would you choose to be doing today?

Friday, April 15, 2011

This Moment

"A single photo – no words – capturing a simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."

“This Moment” is a ritual found on Life inspired by theWee Man adopted from SouleMama which was introduced to me by Sarah-Jane. If you find yourself touched by a Moment and would like to participate, post your picture on a Friday and leave your link in the comments section.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fields of Gold

What does the phrase, “stop and smell the flowers” mean to you?   Is it simply a cliché?  Or a message reminding us to slow down and enjoy the brief moments we have on this earth…

That time, like the early-spring daffodils, is ephemeral and we can’t recapture moments lost… and we only get to enjoy our loved ones for a season - for aren’t we all just transients passing through at dreamlike speed?             
I wasn’t planning a sequel to The Journey, but a certain comment haunted my thoughts.  Not in a troubling or spooky way, but in a numinous light.  
Ever tried to comment at length on someone’s post and the whole shebang just vanished into cyberspace?  Well that’s what happened when Rosemary first tried to share her story on mine…  
But all the ensuing synchronicities were too uncanny, and to enumerate them would require a separate post.  Suffice it to say for now that amazing coincidences directed her return.  Maybe she’ll grace another white blank space and elaborate here in the comments… hint.                 

Rosemary’s Story
At last I've made my way back to tell the “Fields of Gold story” that vanished on me the other day when I hit “publish”…
While my kids were younger I was definitely a “destination” person, always rushing and chasing my tail.
One Sunday in late March 2001, while returning home from a day trip with my mother and the children, Mum suddenly shrieked excitedly for me to stop and look at a field full of daffodils that she had spotted.
It had been a long drive and the kids were fighting in the car on the way home and I knew I had loads of Sunday night stuff to do so I didn't want to stop.  But something in her voice made me pull up at the gateway to the field, which was open as the farmer was there.
As we walked inside we were greeted with the glorious sight of golden flowers nodding in the breeze as they seemingly stretched towards the horizon.  Mum asked the farmer could she buy a bunch and he laughed and said that we could take as many as we could carry.
She was thrilled, and on the way home we all marveled when “Fields of Gold” by Eva Cassidy played on the CD – a song that I loved and had on auto play in the car at the time. (Number 1 album in Ireland Mar '01!)
That was the day I learned that the “journey” and the “now” are all that matter.   Almost a year to the day on 26th March 2002 my wonderful Mum died.
And now every time I hear this beautiful song I cry...with joy that I decided to stop that beautiful spring day and walk in the fields of gold.  

I love these pastoral images in this video. Serene and soul-soothing.  So in case you missed it the first time around…

Rosemary Hannan lives in Dublin, Ireland where she works as a freelance journalist.  You can read her writing at OffbeatWoman.   

You're only here for a short while.  Don't hurry.  Don't worry.

And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.

In what ways do you stop and smell the flowers?  A picnic at the park or a trip to the zoo with the children?   A drive in the country or a night at the theatre with aged parents?  Special birthday or anniversary celebrations?  Being there for a friend when you’d rather be elsewhere?      

What memory does this saying elicit in you?

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