The other day I was getting my 18 month old daughter and myself ready to walk the dogs. In doing this I had to get something from my room. My daughter happily followed as one of her favourite things to do at the moment is playing on our bed. So up she jumped and she played happily while I was getting ready. Once I was ready, in my mind, it was time to go…..
What I hadn’t realised was that my little girl had completely forgotten about our plans to take the dogs for a walk, she was totally in the moment, enjoying jumping and diving on the bed. I had expected her to have in the back of her mind that we were on a mission to get somewhere, an expectation of a level of cognition that was not only beyond her years, but unnecessary in this instance. In this expectation, after asking her a couple of times if she was ready to go, and feeling the pressure of needing to tick off the dog walking for the day, I picked her up off the bed and carried her out of the room, kicking and screaming. I had, in that moment, completely forgotten that she was in the moment, enjoying one of her favourite things. I was focussed on the future, not the now. In doing this I had my needs ahead of hers, thinking for some reason that walking the dogs at that moment was more important than what she was doing. It shocked and saddened me, how readily and without thinking, I put my need to get an item ticked off my ‘to do’ list ahead of being in the moment with my daughter, sharing with her one of her favourite activities. I had lost that moment in time. What a great lesson this was for me in putting aside my ‘agenda’ for being in the moment.
So, how often are you in the moment? And what moments are you missing when your focus shifts to your ‘to do list’ or to the past or the future instead of the present? Next time you notice your attention drifting away from the present due to perceived time pressures or getting things ‘ticked off’, take a deep breath or two, and assure yourself you have all the time in the world. Notice the difference this has on your stress levels.