I’ve received many a bouquet of flowers in my life, but the one that stands out as the most romantic was a little bunch of wildflowers presented to me many years ago by my then-partner. He kissed me hello and shrugged, “I was driving over here and I saw these growing on the side of the road. They were so pretty and colorful, made me think of you, so I turned around and almost got in a wreck to pick them.” Tentative smile. [heart melts]
Mind you, this was a man who bought me the expensive bouquets on all of the appropriate days (birthday, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, and so forth), but that moment is cemented. Right here. In my memory. A bunch of wildflowers. Forever.
Missing the Middle Moments – The Wildflower Moments
He could have just passed right by that patch of flowers by the roadside, but he noticed. So many times in life, in rushing from one milestone to another, we miss countless middle moments–you know, the accidental or spontaneous ones. The ones that are easy to miss. The ones that are aptly disguised as the mundane. The wildflowers.
You know it’s a middle moment when it’s difficult to impart its importance to others. You know, the story you try to tell and you end up giving up because it seems kind of silly to say it. It’s an “I guess you just had to be there” moment.
“I was walking to work and I noticed the first buds on the tree next to my work building, and my heart threatened to explode with sheer joy…. Uhm, I guess you just had to be there.”
It’s easy to see the value of enjoying these small moments, but in the hustle and bustle of daily life, how do you take the time to slow down and notice them?
Despising the Mundane?
Cooking dinner. Running errands. Crafting a proposal at work. Maybe even getting a workout here and there. We often rush through the daily tedium in order to get to the highlights: the big promotion or the wedding.
But the mundane is life.
Your morning commute is your life, not a means to a life, so treat it with the respect it deserves. Stop hatin’ on it so much.
Life isn’t a culminating event. It’s now. So turn on the radio and groove to the music. The commute is happening anyway.
Sitting In The Stillness
Meditate. I know, I know, you’ve heard this before. But it bears repeating. If you want to slow down and start really appreciating the small moments, the best way I know is sitting in the stillness of meditation.
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You can start with just 10 minutes a day (OK, 5 if you must). Sit and pay attention to your breath. In. Out. In. Out. Thoughts will try to butt in. Notice them and let them slip away. Pay attention to your breath. In. Out. In. Out.
Be Fully Present To The Outside World
Let go of the swirling monkey mind, and place your attention outside of yourself onto the reality that is in front of you, the real one, not the constructed idea of it.
In Italo Calvino’s short story “Love Far From Home,” the narrator struggles with duality. Towards the end of the story, he finally achieves his aim: to be fully in the moment, not divided between the reality and the thought of the reality. In what I consider to be one of the most apt lines in literature, he exclaims,
“There: now Mariamirella isn’t the Mariamirella in my mind, plus a real Mariamirella: she’s Mariamirella! And what we’re doing now isn’t something mental plus something real….”
Risk Being Laughed At Or Misunderstood
Be vulnerable. At least with the people who matter most to you.
Be willing to laugh until you snort, dance it up with those two left feet, or present a bunch of wildflowers just because. Put yourself out there by sharing the small moments. Risk being laughed at or misunderstood.
Downsize, But Not Indiscriminately
Stop spending precious energy and attention on people, activities, and stuff that don’t add authentic value to your life.
That collection of 124 pairs of shoes is great – if you wear them all and enjoy displaying them. If they’re just another thing to dust on cleaning day, however, you’ve got yourself a strong contender for downsizing.
Same thing with friends, volunteer work, dates, and kitchen utensils. Does it add value? If yes, keep and enjoy! If not, let it go. Paring down allows you to pay more attention to the truly valuable.
Slow Down And Pay Attention
Start really living the middle moments, all of those wildflower moments you’ve been allowing to fall by the wayside as you zoom towards another milestone. Mundane as they may be, there are so many more of them than the climaxes of life.
The other evening, I was chopping red and green bell peppers for fajitas, music playing in the background, and this sudden feeling of overwhelming joy….
Well... I guess you just had to be there.
About the Author
Nancy Bolling helps women reveal their best selves by finding and manifesting their deepest desires. You can follow her blog and apply for a free coaching session at www.NancyBolling.com.