The Gift of Presence
I saw the movie “Arrival” a few weeks ago. It had two very strong messages: 1) the need for humanity to unite in order to survive and 2) this question: If you knew ahead of time that an experience/relationship/journey would end in an unbearably tragic loss, would you embark on it anyway?
Prior to 2013, I would never have embarked on such a journey for two reasons: my paralyzing fear of loss and my single focus on outcomes. Because of this, I missed out on many opportunities, experiences, and ultimately the happiness that comes from living in the present. I was more focused on fast-forwarding to the end result than enjoying the process of getting there. Therefore, I would have avoided any known, unpleasant outcomes at all costs.
Since learning the lessons that 2013 taught me, I have lived my life very differently for nearly 3 years. Here are the lessons:
- The journey is more significant and enjoyable than the destination if you allow yourself to experience it fully in the moment.
- You can’t control many of the events that happen in life, so stop trying and stop worrying because neither will change anything. You can only control your response to what comes your way.
- You find out how strong and who you really are by how you respond to adversity.
- You don’t always arrive at your planned destination.
- Sometimes you take an unexpected turn and experience an adventure beyond your wildest dreams that far exceeds the destination you intended.
Today, I would gladly take the journey regardless of the outcome because the journey is all there really is and all that really matters. We never know for sure how anything will turn out because things can happen that are beyond our control. The only destination that we are certain of is that one day our lives will end. If we live for outcomes at the expense of the present journey, then we ultimately miss out on living our lives in the moment and experiencing the gifts that each new day brings. This holiday season, I wish you the gift of presence. May you delight in every moment spent with family, friends, and loved ones.
“Living in the moment means letting go of the past and not waiting for the future. It means living your life consciously, aware that each moment you breathe is a gift.” – Oprah Winfrey
“We always regret the risks that we fail to take.” – Dr. Marshall Goldsmith
“Don’t fear death, fear the un-lived life.” – Natalie Babbitt