Bright Idea: Stay in the Moment
Bright Ideas: Tips for Positive Thinking and Personal Growth
It is way too easy to become immersed in the day to day chaos around us, especially now. In fact, in recent weeks I’ve allowed myself to get quite lost in it. Lost in the unknowns of today’s world, asking endless “what if” questions there are simply (still) no answers to and, worst of all, assuming the worst is going to happen. As I reflect on those thoughts, I further enable the chaos by being incredibly hard on myself. Thoughts in my brain acting as bullies in a school hall saying “you didn’t do enough, you didn’t plan properly, why did you say THAT, why can’t you solve that problem.” I am usually quite positive about life and the future, but even the most optimistic of souls get lost in a tornado every once in a while.
How do you pull yourself out and reset? How do you stay in the moment when the moments seem few and far between? You stop and listen, that’s how. You stop and listen to yourself, listen to others and ride that scary wave until you get back to solid ground.
The wave doesn’t seem so scary when you surround yourself with innately good people. They’re still out there, you know. And, I’m lucky enough to work with some of them. A couple of recent encounters with these incredible people have unknowingly helped keep me balanced, even when my ground is a little shaky. When you really listen to those around you, it is simply astonishing how it can impact you.
One of my initial work-related encounters of 2021 was with the magical Jennifer Lindsley, a dedicated Inclusion Specialist. I walked down the hall to her classroom where I knew my day (and soul) would be almost instantly lifted after visiting with her and her classroom teachers. We checked in, exchanged social inquiries “How was your Holiday” and so forth. We reflected on the oddities of experiencing a holiday season, 2020 style, as she shared with me a story of a beautiful encounter with her father. With her permission, I’ve been given the honor of sharing it with you. I encourage you to read every last word.
Jennifer began by sharing her need to plan (I can relate!). Planning makes things predictable, easy, expected. After battling the unexpected for nearly all of 2020, and being faced with continued unknowns in 2021, well, Jennifer (and most) were frustrated to say the least. As she described the joy of getting to see a select few family members, she particularly lit up as she mentioned her Dad. “My dad has Alzheimer’s…” she shared… “time with him is precious and limited – especially given the pandemic” she continued “Because his thoughts often escape him, it’s also rare that we are able to carry on a meaningful conversation. Instead, we listen to music, work on a crossword together or sit quietly over coffee.”
“During our visit, he offered to walk the dogs with me and I gladly took him up on the offer. As we quietly made our way down the road, he asked me, “Jen, how are you doing?” I answered him honestly and admitted that I was really struggling. I told him I was so frustrated by the pandemic. I told him how badly I wanted to make plans for the year, but how I couldn’t seem to plan for anything. I complained that when I did make plans, they constantly changed or canceled. He listened and then turned to me and said with complete clarity, “maybe you need to stop making plans and just be in the moment.”
Stay in the moment, and just be.