Living in the moment.
See the world through the eyes of a kitten and you get the perfect lesson of how to live in the moment.
The world is full of exciting new things to explore. Everything is a potential play thing. Every sense is heightened as you go moment by moment through the day.
Here is a taste of the world according to Leo:
Leo was loathe to get up this morning when I went I to the kitchen. He yawned, stretched to his full capacity and then closed his eyes and went back to sleep.
As I opened the cupboard door to get out the food pouches and his dishes he went from completely relaxed and flat out to fully alert, he bounced out of bed and was sitting ready for breakfast with his tail neatly wrapped around his feet before I had the pouch open.
Breakfast hoovered up he was off, out of the kitchen, to explore. Every nook and crannie was examined, each item sniffed, patted, some chewed before bouncing on to the next.
Periodically the exploration process was suspended while he attacked his scratching post, climbed onto the top and dived off to catch the ribbons which are attached to it with string.
How often are you distracted by worrying about all those other things on you “To Do” list, or thinking about the past and wishing you had done things differently? Focusing too much on the past or what might or should happen in the future detracts hugely from enjoying the here and now.
Leo has no such problem. His attention is fully on the now. He uses every fibre of his being to grab life and enjoy it.
If you find yourself harping on about the past a useful strategy is to journal the events and how it made you feel.
Consider what lesson you have learned from the experience
Ask yourself – where is the gift?
Give yourself permission to let it go
Create a ceremony around letting the past go. Burn what you have written in your journal, tear it into tiny pieces and bury it in the garden or sprinkle it in the sea. You don’t actually have to do any of these physically, it works if you do it in your mind’s eye. It’s your choice.
Part 2 Living In The Moment
Leo’s attention was then taken up with a paper sack I'd left on the floor. He stalked it carefully, bottom stuck up in the air as he edged his way towards this strange brown thing he'd never encountered before. The hairs on his back were up, tail twice the normal size he rushed in for the attack. He pounced and as he pounced the bag made a loud crackling noise. Leo leapt into the air all four paws spread wide, before landing and rushing to hide under the sideboard.
All was quiet for a few moments until a little face appeared from under the corner of its hidey hole. In inch by inch he manoeuvred himself closer and closer to the bag. A tentative paw uncurled and patted the bag. As the bag rustled Leo jumped back but held his ground. Once again he crawled belly to the ground toward the bag. He drew himself up, and then jumped high into the air before landing squarely in the middle of the bag. He attacked the bag with teeth and all four paws, growling as he did so. Only when he was absolutely convinced that the bag was no threat did he step back. He sat head on one side whilst deciding what to do next.
The opening to the bag presented itself and Leo lay on his side whilst poking a paw inside. Little by little he wriggled forward until he disappeared inside. The next thing I saw was the paper bag apparently moving unaided along the floor as Leo pushed from the inside.
After a few moments quiet in the dark there was a great amount of rustling and crackling as Leo turned himself around and finally shot out of the bag like a rocket.
When tackling something new how much of your approach is affected by things which happened in the past? This can be hugely positive where you bring previous skills, expertise and knowledge to bear in the new situation.
It can also be negative where you have lots of baggage from previous experiences generating a fear of failing or getting hurt or mistrust of people. It is these which become incredibly counter productive.
Fear of being hurt stops many people from getting out there to look for a loving relationship. The paradox is that the fear keeps them stuck in a place where they are lonely and unfulfilled.
Leo has no such baggage. He accepts each different situation for what it is. Momentary fear passes and as soon as the perceived threat is over he carries on which enthusiasm and an incredible verve for life.
Part 3 – Living In The Moment
Grooming was next on the agenda. Leo washed each part of himself with a thoroughness even the most particular would approve of. His white front sparkling like something out of a detergent advert before looking around to see what mischief he could get Into next.
It was then the turn of the orchids. The roots growing out of the pot bounce up and down very satisfyingly when patted with a paw. This activity kept Leo fully engaged for quite a while. He patted them from the front, the sides and the back. He tried it with his right paw and then his left. Each time he batted the root he put more and more pressure in the pat until the whole plant jumped out of the pot and onto the floor covering him and the floor with orchid bark. He looked very surprised, sneezed and then started to play football with the bark which flew across the floor in a very satisfying way when he patted it.
Compare Leo's approach to life with how many of us fail to make the very best of each moment.
When I initially start working with clients I am struck on just how many allow their past to define and spoil their 'now'. Instead of taking the lesson or the gift from their past experiences and moving forward they are chained to the negative impact.
Others are so busy planning and goal setting and future destination they fail to enjoy the journey.
Why not choose to savour your day. Take a few moments out of your busy day to really be in the moment.
One simple way to do it is to take the time to look around you and imagine you are seeing the natural world for the first time.
See the textures, colours and shapes
What can you hear? Are the noises natural or man- made?
Use each of your senses and really focus on what you are taking in.
How does it make you feel?
It's great if you can get outside into the garden, a park or the woods but, don't let time, or lack of it stop you from truly living in the moment.
Use all of your senses when you eat. Eat slowly and enjoy each mouthful.
Be playful about living in the moment. Smile and see the world through a child's or Leo's eyes. The great thing is there is no pressure to do things in any particular way. He doesn't care what others think he's just having fun!