coffee shop meditations

Giving Time: If This Moment is All We Have

That’s what life is all about. Time. Who you give it to. How you spend it. What you do with your life defines how your life will be. It sounds woo-woo or esoteric, I can explain it, I think, it a way that will make sense. Just a sec…

If This Moment is All We Have

Then everything we are thinking, from moment to moment, form our experience of life. If we are living in regret of things that didn’t go as we planned, to losses, or broken promises, we’re missing this present moment. (There are places and time for processing regrets, but you must get over them, and let go of the ongoing pain of regret.) If we are living in fear of the coming storm we are missing this beautiful moment of now. Many great thinkers have spoken of this “present moment” awareness with much greater clarity and insight than I can, but I am going to add my moments of enlightenment to this conversation.

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At this moment I am filled with joy, coffee, a nice omelet, and a lot of gratitude. Sure there are things to be regretful about. And there are lots of junctures in the future that will provide challenges. BUT, in this very moment, at this diner in New York City, on my 59th birthday, I am supremely at peace. I am safe. I am warm. I am happy. I am full of myself. I contain multitudes. In this vast moment, I can see behind me and laugh at the regrets. In this open future, I can call in the joy and goodness that is coming my way. I blow out my breath to move the obstacles in my way. I am alone. At peace. Feeling nothing but love and gratitude.

Is It God?

Is God the reason we feel happiness? (Is it Jesus?) Is it Siddhartha? Is it the buddha in me, or the Christ in me? I don’t really care. What I know is this: I could not be happier in my life in this moment. To be happier would be to rapture off the planet. I don’t want to rapture. I’m still loving this life and those around me.

So what is it that causes me to experience moments of ultimate peace and love?

  • solitude
  • connectedness
  • words
  • creativity
  • energy
  • rest
  • love
  • community
  • self-appreciations
  • prayer
  • meditation

And what are the aspects of life that pull me down off my cloud?

  • drugs (caffeine my current drug of choice)
  • lack of sleep
  • stress (work, relationships, money, safety)
  • regretful ruminations
  • future fears of what might happen

How Do We Find the Still Point?

First, we have to spend some time alone. It doesn’t matter too much what you do while being with yourself, but you must give yourself some quiet and pause to listen to what is emerging in your soul. What things are calling out to you? What things are causing you stress and drama? What are the next steps along your healthy journey? What would you like to change about your life? What is a goal you can take on this week? What about this month? What about the next five years? Without concrete goals and actionable steps to get there, we are often caught in “drift.” Just allowing the winds of time to push our boat around the lake. We need a well-directed rudder, a sharp and deep keel, and the skills to captain our own adventure.

For me, finding stillness is a process. I give myself “downtime.” Time without any activities, or commitments. It’s hard to find this discipline while we are in a romantic relationship. Our partners either have to be in their own creative journey, or they have to learn their own patience and self-centering activities. I don’t think I can create the life I want while constantly tethered to another person. Even our children must be let go in order for us to evolve beyond the “young parent” role. There is so much more ahead of us.

What’s ahead.

Time. Energy. The movement towards joy or towards unjoy.

When you discover that this is the key to life, you will begin moving towards joy with every conscious action you take.

Ask yourself

Does this activity move me TOWARDS or AWAY FROM our goal?

If we are working on a relationship, we can use this mantra to steer us back towards the partnership. If we are working on our own creative process and output, we can ask the question to redirect our own wandering thoughts and intentions. When I’m about to watch a show on TV I can ask myself, “Does this show support my goals or my happiness?” When the answer is no, we can move to something else.

Micro Corrections of Life

All of this life. My day, for example, is a series of micro corrections. Today, I am conscious of moving towards my joy with every action I take. I am in NYC with my daughter to celebrate our November birthdays. This morning I woke up and stepped out to get breakfast and coffee while she slept in. She just texted me, and she will join me momentarily in this typical NY diner for coffee and breakfast. My decisions have all been focused on my own joy. While considering the care and attention for my daughter, I also knew I needed to get up and eat, drink coffee, and write. That’s my happy place.

THIS IS MY HAPPY PLACE. Typing words. Imagining I am putting down some information of value. First, value to myself. (How I feel when I write a nice poem or an illuminating article of some sort.) Second, care and loving support of my daughter. And third, listening to my own heart and what I wanted today, on my birthday: a moment alone to write and process all this joy. The joy of this moment is all there is. When we tune into that joy, we find our own bodhisattva. We find our own inner joy.

We become one with our higher power. And from here we can continue to make YES choices.

Micro corrections along the path of life.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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