“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift…that’s why they call it: Present” ― Master Oogway
At one point in my life it helped me to understand what living in the moment means and to enjoy my present instead of thinking of the past or the future. It helped me to be in the “Now”.
I had heard that quote before, but on this particular day it actually spoke to me and made sense.
My boys were excited to go see the movie Kung Fu Panda which had premiered that week. I was enjoying my boys company and their beautiful spirits as much as I could. The moment the lights went down and the movie started, my boys had their attention on the screen. Me, my body was there, but my mind was not. My second marriage was failing and all I was doing was thinking about possible solutions, causes, consequences and all the thoughts that come with marriage problems and potential divorce.
My boys were loving the movie. Sometimes their giggles would bring me back to the theater, but mostly it would wander back to my problems. Then the scene came when Master Oogway (Chinese for Tortoise) is talking to Po, the Panda, and he says: “Yesterday is history,tomorrow’s a mystery, and today is a gift…that’s why they call it: Present”.
My mind, which had been completely absent to the moment, was captured by what Master Oogway said,, and came back to listen and analyze that specific saying. I call it my Aha Moment, because something clicked inside of me, something magical that changed me. If I could describe the change that happened, I would say that there was an inner light that started as a flicker and became brighter and brighter as the quote played over and over inside my head.
The whole meaning of it became clear to me. I was not taking full advantage of the present by worrying so much about things that had already happened, had not happened or may never happen. Things that I had no control over were the owners of my “Now”.
I looked away from the screen and into my boys beautiful faces. Their smiles were so big and their eyes were shining so bright, their minds completely submerged in the movie, the plot and the characters. Not a worry in their world…and I wanted to be and feel like them. Their secret? Like Master Oogway said, they were living in the present moment. They were taking advantage of their gift…the Now.
I did my best to free my mind of any other thoughts and to stop thinking, to be there, at the movie theater, body and soul, and love that moment with my boys, to appreciate my present, my gift.
The rest of that day was amazing. I felt free. I felt joy. I felt peace and love that was so fulfilling because it came from inside me and from the realization of the gift I had. Since that day, I do my best to stay in the moment. It is not easy and sometimes it seems impossible.
Over the last few years, I have been challenged in many aspects of my life. I have been laid off from work a few times. My health turned into a slow roller coaster when my thyroid decided to take on a life of its own and play tricks on me. Losing my good health created a domino effect on my work, my finances, my home, my social and family life. I can honestly say that I have so many reasons to worry, to despair, to go crazy.
My natural tendency when faced with challenges, is to go into my past and look for all the reasons why bad things are happening to me. If I allow myself to do that, then I start thinking about what I could have done differently and I fill myself with regrets and self pity. I also tend to think about all the consequences and possible outcomes to the future, bringing anxiety, worries and uncertainty to my life, feelings that are unnecessary and a complete waste of my present. Instead I do my best to stay in the present moment and use that gift to be pro-active and work towards the solutions.
Since I started practicing living in the moment, I have noticed that my life has become rich with peace, calm and acceptance. I appreciate the little things. I see beauty in nature and in people in a way that I didn’t see before. Simple things make me happy. I feel a deeper love and an absolute gratitude. I do my best to LIVE every moment fully and completely. Especially when I am with my boys. Those moments become treasures to my soul. Those are the little moments that really matter to me and the memories that those moments create are the true inheritance I leave behind.
Photos by Sandi Gamblin
Edited by Randall Gamblin (email@example.com)