I don’t know what it is about the fall that makes me suddenly and keenly aware of time passing. Maybe it’s the sight of the leaves turning, a bright brave blast of colour before they wither. Everywhere, signs of slow decay. It doesn’t make me sad, but it does make me a bit more reflective. Summer, so eagerly awaited, has now slipped away to the place where all summers go to die. Ahead of us, another cold winter we’ll do our best to survive. But in the meantime, a chance to watch the most beautiful of all the changes of season, and maybe try to become a little better at living in the moment.
Recently I was sitting outside in the sun for a few minutes between meetings and chatting with a friend, when it occurred to me that sometimes we tend to think too much about the past or worry about the future, without realizing that the present moment is actually pretty good. Sometimes what comes to us through our senses is enough to give great pleasure, and make us more receptive to happiness.
I said as much to my friend, and we agreed to try and tell each other 5 things we enjoyed each day—one for each of the senses. I’m hoping it will be a way for us to get into the habit of living mindfully, to appreciate whatever is in front of us right now.
As it turns out, being mindful is also great for getting us out of the autopilot mode our brains are in most of the time, and for developing our powers of observation as well as a stronger sense of motivation about the things we do and why we do them.
So here goes: mindfulness and motivation—the “two Ms,” as Maria Konnikova calls them in her book, Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes. It seems like a good way to start the season, to get ready for Thanksgiving, and to finish the rest of the year well.
“When people see my images, a lot of times they’ll say, “Oh my God.” Have you ever wondered what that meant? The “oh” means it caught your attention, makes you present, makes you mindful. The “my” means it connects with something deep inside your soul. It creates a gateway for your inner voice to rise up and be heard. And “God”? God is that personal journey we all want to be on, to be inspired, to feel like we’re connected to a universe that celebrates life.” ~ Louie Schwartzberg, cinematographer