Friday, October 12, 2018
Many times, we give significance to days of the week. We hate Mondays. Wednesday is Hump Day. We Thank God It’s Friday! We live for the weekend. But every day is a great day to celebrate. Regardless of the day of the week. Regardless of the day’s schedule. Regardless of whether it is a holiday or not. Every day is a great day to experience life to the fullest. We should truly seize the day!
We often associate the Carpe Diem sentiment with doing something magnanimous. We will often discount the significance of our life by the deficit of doing “big things.” I know that I used to subscribe to the notion that I needed to do “big things” in order to truly experience life. I put a lot of energy and money into ensuring that I created the most spectacular of spectacular events for everything I did. My children’s birthday parties were great productions. My birthday parties were grand and fabulous. My work in my career and in my community were always full throttle pursuits of excellence. Immediately, my focus was on how to make this “bigger.” I got great results. I got great accolades. I felt great about my big accomplishments.
Life had a way of shaking things up and moving me in big ways. I was literally moved from my comfort zone. My first husband got a new job in another city and I literally left the life I had built behind. That move was the first of two major moves that reshaped my life and created new opportunities and experiences. Perhaps I would have learned to appreciate the beauty of creating great moments every day if I had stayed put. But being ripped of everything familiar enabled me to earn greater appreciation for creating new experiences. I earned this appreciation in retrospect, however.
A friend gave me a book for Christmas that helped me to truly reflect on whether I was truly experiencing the power of the moments given to me. Duly named, The Power Of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, this book helped me to reframe how I viewed the previously quipped “series of unfortunate events” that had plagued my life. I came to realize that these events were not unfortunate at all, but merely things that had not gone as planned, but had gone exactly as they should. The full breadth of that realization is the subject of another writing, but is the underlying theme of this Carpe Diem message.
I love to read and try to read at least one book a week. I record my impressions from my readings in my Book of Thoughts, a series of notebooks especially for this purpose. I have been doing this for about 10 years. About seven years ago, I decided to turn my Book of Thoughts into a Book of Actions by committing to creating action items from what I’ve learned and actually make my knowledge powerful. One of my Takeaways from The Power of Moments was to truly become conscious of the moments I was creating…and the moments I was missing. I decided that I need to have better more meaningful experiences.
Some of the most beautiful moments happen between the “big things” we do. In fact, every day is full of beautiful moments. Some happen on their own. Others happen when we commit to having them. I have stopped having bad days. I have stopped have bad relationships. I have stopped having bad experiences. Instead I have begun to have powerful moments that create great lessons, great reasons to be grateful, and great experiences. When my relationships yield far more lessons than blessings, I end them focus on the relationships that add more value to my life than they take away. I have let go of the commitment to completion when I find that the activity or organization no longer adds value nor I to it. I am focused on being mindful of the experiences that I am creating. If it no longer serves me in this season, I let the season evolve to the next.
I truly believe that it is all working together for my good. Every single day. There is something beautiful to be gained from everything we do. Even those series of unfortunate events that we’d much rather avoid. Sometimes we get so focused on the unfortunate so much that we miss the fortunate. I remember a speaker asking the audience to describe a catastrophe that they had experienced in their life that they hadn’t survived. After a pregnant pause, we all erupted in acknowledgement that despite the pain, disappointment, tragedy, or even violence that we had experienced, we had survived them all. And that is the fortune in every unfortunate event!
The truth is our life is a series of moments. Are we truly experiencing life or are we just wasting precious moments? Are we focused on the wrong things? Are we ignoring the beauty because it is dusted in ugliness? Are we discounting the small but powerful moment waiting on the big bodacious one? Every moment is one to be relished. Whether it is the one you wish for or the one that was forced upon you. Every moment is powerful.
I have committed to being truly focused on looking for and appreciating the powerful moments in my life. I have come to believe that nothing in life happens by chance. We are where we are in our lives because there is something good to be gained from that moment. Whether we seize it or miss it is totally up to us.
Today is the day to experience every moment of life. Don’t wait until someday. Don’t wait until a special day. Don’t wait until Friday. Experience every day for the fortune that is in it. Appreciate the power in every moment. Be grateful for what went right. Be grateful for the lesson learned from what did not go right. Be grateful to have survived another day to create another experience. In all things, be grateful.