What does your typical day look like? You work, shop for groceries, run errands, attend appointments and scheduled events. Life is busy.
But when you look back at the bigger picture – your entire life – what happy thoughts comes to mind? Those special memories, maybe only a minute in a lifetime of thousands, stand out for some reason. Maybe they were defining moments that helped shape who and what you are today; maybe they were simply moments so engrossing they are etched in your memory forever.
One thing those memories most likely share is the way they made us feel: happy, excited, and content. So why don’t we spend more time creating more meaningful moments? Well, life is busy.
It was only recently that I had this awakening. My husband and I are coming off an exceptionally busy year with a health scare adding an entirely new dimension of unknowns and unease. There was so much to learn, so many appointments to schedule, and many big decisions to make.
One day my husband asked if we could allocate one weekend morning to simply check in with each other and discuss how we are actually feeling. That was an “aha” moment for me because we standardly only do this on vacations when life’s distractions are miles away. Everyone had been asking me, “how are you feeling?” but the one-word answers didn’t tell the entire story. And yes, he had feelings to express as well.
We started “Coffee Saturdays” on our patio with seats placed strategically in the sun for meaningful conversations and time to truly connect. These moments filled us both with a warmth and joy that had been missing. We didn’t set parameters, but instinctively knew this wasn’t a time to voice issues or fix problems; it was merely a time to reconnect heart-to-heart.
“To create meaningful moments is to stay present and grounded while letting go of mental distractions,” says self-empowerment speaker and author Tony Fahkry. He refers to the distractions as “the capricious monkey mind seeking to assert its will because it strives to be heard.”
Doesn’t that describe most conversations with our loved ones?
“To recognize meaningful moments,” he adds, “stop rushing to the next event and consider what is taking place before you. Our thoughts will convince us there’s something wrong with the present moment and we need to fix it to feel better.”
But we don’t need to fix it, we just need to stop; to clear our heads of all the chatter and responsibility that keeps us in autopilot with only the destination in mind. But where are we going in such a hurry?
We all want to add more meaningful moments to our lives, so where do we start?
By taking your foot off the gas, says functional medicine doctor and New York Times best-selling author Frank Lipman, MD. To create a more meaningful life, he recommends the following:1
Really be — and connect — with others. Whether with those closest to you or friends you haven’t seen in a while, make the time together matter. Focus on the content of conversation and be present. Listen, ask questions, and be engaged. The result just may be more laughter, hugs and memorable exchanges.
Connect with nature. Spend a few minutes every day outdoors. Take a brief walk, sit on a park bench, gaze at the stars before bedtime and take in all the sights, sounds and smells around you. Give your mind a time out and don’t check your phone.
Do one thing at a time. Multitasking is a myth, he says. Make the art of task completion a more meaningful, even meditative experience by pouring your energy into the task at hand, completing it well, and then moving on to the next with the same level of focus.
Rise to the occasion. For many, mornings are mayhem. Ease into your day by going to bed earlier so you can rise earlier and incorporate a quiet practice like meditation, yoga or watching the sunrise. Combining ‘me time’ with a sense of awe sets the stage for more memorable days.
Make meals more meaningful. When you eat, just eat. Don’t watch TV, text, make calls, or drive. Choose food that nourishes your body and enjoy the sensory experience of eating. Share that time with others to create a richer, more meaningful experience with every meal.
Give a bit of yourself. Create an activity that nurtures compassion for yourself, your loved ones, your community, the global community, and the Earth itself.
Make space for fun. As we discussed in Letting Go of Time: The Importance of Play (Nov/Dec 2019), Lipman agrees that we all need to have more fun. Making space for moments of carefree, unselfconscious fun can spawn surprise, curiosity, and creativity. Silly activities out of the ordinary for yourself or with others can strengthen bonds – with your true self and with friends – and will create magical moments that last a lifetime.
Editorial by Lauren Del Sarto, founder/publisher of Desert Health. She can be reached at [email protected].