Biting into a juicy summer peach. Talking with a friendly neighbor. Feeling the satisfaction of a cleaned kitchen. Gazing up at the starry night sky. Life is full of small, ordinary moments.
What transforms these Plain Jane points in time into The Good Life? You do, through your awareness. By acknowledging and savoring these moments you can turn the unremarkable into the meaningful, the fulfilling, and at times, the transcendent.
Abundantly accessible and readily available, get your Good Life moments here:
A moment of breath, coming from the belly, rising to the chest, and slowly released with a satisfying sigh.
A moment of connection when you realize you are exactly where you should be and you belong.
A moment of sensuality during which you experience an eternity of joy.
A moment of insight ranging from the simply useful (so that's what's wrong with my computer) to the joyfully aware (what a beautiful sound).
A moment of excitement which shifts your life's energy from ho-hum into SIS-BOOM-BAH.
A moment of flow unfolding in a long winding ribbon of yes.
Moments being moments are by their very nature fleeting. Here one minute and gone the next. This turns out to be good news for living The Good Life. Our brains are wired to respond to novelty, and we enjoy small (versus big) changes. This explains our fascination with watching a fire, channel surfing, and multi–tasking generally. By shifting our awareness to the emergence of each moment we have a built–in source of novelty. Eating the peach is wonderful and then it's gone. Talking with a neighbor is fun until we have to go. The night sky captivates until morning.
Which moments we choose to savor are entirely personal. A friend once described the profound happiness he experienced each time his son's small hand reached up to his. Those moments of being a Dad were essential to his experience of well being, but they aren't for everyone. We were discussing a favorite film with another friend who mentioned the quality of the background music, and we realized we hadn't really heard the music the way he had. As individuals, we had savored different parts of the same experience.
What molds all of these moments together into a whole we call The Good Life is two-fold: our conscious awareness of them and structuring our lives in a way that invites such moments into our lives on a daily basis. To make space for all this good, we need to edit out the unwanted and irrelevant. We load The Good Life dice in our favor by consciously choosing the work, people, places, and activities that we love and find meaningful. In this way The Good Life becomes easy, almost inevitable. It ceases being something to strive for and instead becomes something to sink into deeply, moment by moment.
Once while traveling in Scotland, we met an older man who had never left the town of St. Andrews. We asked him if he had ever wanted to travel. "Aye, I do!" he replied. "Everyday I see such wonderful things. The world is a beautiful place." What had taken us thousands of miles to discover, this man had discovered without leaving his home town.
Small and ordinary—and deeply gratifying. Get your Good Life here! Now!
Take a minute to review your day in your mind. What small and ordinary, yet especially satisfying moments can you recall?
With your awareness now focused on the potential for shifting the unremarkable into the gratifying, see how making time to notice and acknowledge the small things affects how you experience the rest of your day. What helps bring you back to this awareness?
Here's to The Good Life moments yet to be lived today!
Beth and Eric
[Originally published September 1, 2012 and re-published on June 1, 2017.]
This monthly slow essay is from Beth Meredith & Eric Storm of Create The Good Life.
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