The Art of Living in the Moment

Living in the moment is an art.

Seriously, it is. It’s not quite Jackson Pollack. It’s not Picasso or Matisse. It’s not your 5yr old’s fridge hanging creations. No, it’s an art that’s wholly individual to all of us.

After learning of the passing of Natalie Murphy – the young Auckland mum who fought aggressive cancer with an amazing amount of dignity– I sat down and pondered on my own life. I thought about my responsibilities and my priorities. I thought about my child, my husband, my family and my friends. I broke down and wept.

Natalie cherished every moment, was thankful for every breath, and loved with great abandon. She didn’t apologize for her emotions (fear, sadness, anger, elation, gratitude). Even in pain and knowing the end was nigh, she carried on living and dreaming. She understood the art of living in the moment.

And she painted her life in big, beautiful brush-strokes.

Perfecting each moment happens by default when you go with the flow and don’t force or stifle your gut reactions and true emotions. Think like a kid if you must, before you were burdened with the weight of being an adult and suppressing your emotions for the sake of cultural propriety. Think with joy at the forefront of your mind. Wear a cape. Whatever you do, enjoy it.

In no particular order of importance, here are the ways in which I have learned the art of living in the moment.

Take it all in.
Yep, everything. From the brilliant colour green in a springtime moss on your front steps to the wiley smile your child gives you when they’re cracking jokes – whatever life throws at you, breathe it in. Let’s face it, we’re all lucky to be breathing at all!

Beauty is in every tiny detail.
It’s in the morning dew on tree leaves hanging low enough for you to touch. It’s in the birdsong just as dawn is breaking. It’s in a smile from a stranger. It’s that one lone, perfect daisy popping through the cracks on a busy urban sidewalk. Go on, open your eyes. Look for beauty. Seek it out. It’s all around you. I promise.

Talk to people.
Lots of people. Talk to people you know and people you don’t. Talk to the weirdos, the geeks, the nerds, the cool kids, the rough riders and the rebels. Talk to the elderly – a lot. They’ve got great stories and were your age once. They’ll have secrets to share that might just save your ass one day. Talk to kids, too. They lack filters on their comments. They’ll set you straight. 

Crack jokes – even if they’re bad ones.
You know the old saying about laughter being the best medicine, right? Well here’s a secret…it really is. Laughing heals all wounds in a moment. It doesn’t make you forget, but it’s a natural salve for the not-so-nice parts of life. The more you laugh, the better off your soul will be. And, your abs will thank you for it!

See a movie.
When it comes to movies, the art of living in the moment is all about pretending.Imagine yourself in that penthouse overlooking Central Park in New York. Pretend you’re in the South of France with James Bond, or imagine Brad Pitt is your boy toy (Angelina who?).

Fall in love with someone or something.
Love is what makes everything worth the struggle of living. It’s what binds us to our families and our friends. It’s what makes us who we are. We fight and die for love. We also reach the highest heights because of it. Whatever and whomever you’re passionate about – never, ever be afraid of loving someone. 

Focus on one thing at a time.
One of the best ways to live in the moment is to concentrate on one thing at a time. With all of the noise, interruptions, and technology stealing away our time, concentrating on one thing means you’re focused. And focus helps you gain perspective. So slow down. Streamline. Enjoy.

Banish regrets.
This is simple. Don’t do it. Don’t regret anything. Make your decisions and own them. Then move on. Living in the moment means accepting the past and believing in the future.

Push your body.
Get outdoors, work up a sweat and push your body hard – exercise is what humans thrive on. We weren’t made to sit still all day long and look at a multitude of screens. Turn off your computer. Put your phone aside. Click off the TV. Lace up your shoes and head outdoors. Being in nature and concentrating on your physical self means you’ll enjoy your everyday even more so!

Right…log off.

Do something for yourself.

Enjoy the hell out of life.

I do.

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