Growing up in a small town every time we wanted to go somewhere it was a journey. Whether we were going to the grocery store or picking up a new pair of blue jeans, we could guarantee we would be in the car for a minimum of thirty minutes.
We didn’t have the luxury of in-car entertainment systems, iPads or smartphones. If there was any entertainment it was the games we created, jokes that we would tell and a book we would read.
Most of the time, I would do nothing, but look out the window. I would take notice of the area farms, enjoy the sights of nature and allow my curiosity to get the best of me. Every trip was an adventure. It was a time in my life where I totally embraced the moment.
The older I got, the fewer car rides I enjoyed from the back seat. I graduated to the front seat moving from passenger to officially being the driver.
Once I made it to the driver’s seat, the journey wasn’t nearly as important. It was all about the destination. Now it was about school, a job and time with friends that dominated every thought.
It wasn’t long before my world was filled with deadlines, quotas, appointments, and meetings. I was driven by goals and personal desire. I was constantly living in the future. During this time, days and weeks disappeared and years felt like months. Chunks of time and events that I should have remembered seemed foggy at best.
I was on a runaway train and everything around me began to blur. Something had to change.
There is a saying the most often is attributed to the Buddha that says, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.”
What I didn’t realize there was a teacher who’s simple wisdom was about to cross my path.
She wasn’t a mystic, scholar or philosopher. No one called her a guru or a saint. She was soft spoken and frail and wouldn’t stand out in any crowd. What she did possess, was a lifetime of experience and wisdom.
I can still hear her voice and the words that she spoke, “David everyone is on a journey and we are all at different places. Enjoy where you’re at and the place in time that you are in.” It was so simple, but it was my ah ha moment.
This was twelve years ago, but the message still shows up in many different forms. I hear it in the teachings on meditation and mindfulness and the lessons of Stoic philosophy. I’m embracing this moment, this time and not focusing on things I cannot change or influence.
Remember, yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is in the future and today is all we have. Embrace it. Eliminate the distractions and be present at every moment. You owe it to yourself.