In the four weeks since I broke up with my boyfriend and moved into my own place, the only thing that has really helped me get through the pain is to continually focus on the present. It’s forced me to stop thinking about the past, to stop worrying about the future, and to really enjoy what is right in front of me, in the now. The now is filled with so many pleasant details that get missed when we are in a hurry, or unhappy as I have been. Suddenly, scented candles, fresh flowers, gourmet coffee, antique teaspoons, and the texture of my facecloth mean everything to me in the brief moment I interact with them, notice them, acknowledge all the wonderful comfort and pleasure they have to offer. Little things have become larger, and almost surreal. One cool and quiet morning on my walk to work, I noticed a pigeon laying on its back with its feet splayed up in the air. It appeared dead, until just as I past it when it cocked its head and looked at me. The impact of its little black orbs fixing upon me gripped me with an almost transcendent awe that haunted me throughout the day. I would barely have thought much of such a thing just a few weeks earlier when I was under so much duress I could hardly remember my own bank card number.
The practice of mindfulness to live in the present moment is one that never ends, because it seems that almost every moment there is always something trying to steal our attention away, and nothing does this more so than our own thoughts. Pain is an excellent spur to force us to harness and redirect our thoughts away from it and into the now , the only place that is free of pain and full of little pleasures, just waiting to be noticed and appreciated. It really amazes me how much joy I have been gaining from little things; all the little things that have always been around me but that I just seem to forget are there. It makes me wonder, why do I forget to always be in the present, even in the absence of pain? It seems like a battle that may never cease, but it’s one with boundless merits of which I’ve been recently reminded.
In my local shopping center, where I do my weekly grocery shopping, the lotto ticket counter is right next to a florist stand. The two together strike me as some kind of demonic wager, a temptation set up by the devil to divide souls. Do you throw away your money to buy a chance of a million dollars and hope that it will make you happy, or do you purchase a bouquet of flowers and feel happiness right in that moment?
I hope that in a few months time when all my pain subsides that I’ll remember to continue to recognize the richness of choosing the beauty, the color, the quiet music of the moment over everything else that vies for the attention of my thoughts.
Who wants to be a millionaire with me?