I heard a statistic recently that said somewhere close to 90% of us turn on something that begins with an “i,” has a screen, and/or connects us with the world within the first ten minutes of waking up. For the most part, many of the messages we are receiving require some type of response with an expectation of “instant.” At this point, many of us haven’t even left the bed yet and we are in “hair on fire” mode. The pace of stimulus amplifies as the day goes on and the next thing we know our heads are hitting the pillow, smoldering from the past 16 hours of work and life. We wake up the next day and it’s lather, rinse repeat; and the day after lather, rinse, repeat; and so on, and so on, and so on.
When you ask most people to think about their lives, they often can speak of it in terms of hopes, dreams, wants, and desires. And while this may shift a bit over time, the aspirations are always there. The opportunity seems to be in how many of us are actually living true to who we want to be, aligning our actions and behaviors with our personal core values and beliefs while living a life of purpose and meaning. The challenge is in essence, who is driving. Are we spending most of our waking hours in reactive or response mode, the tail wagging the dog; or is it actually our hands that are on the wheel?
Mark Twain stated, “The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” I believe the answers to why lives inside our hopes, dreams, wants, and desires. It is there for us to understand if we simply slow down long enough and travel that precious 18 inches between our heads and hearts to connect the two and find the answer. Our why is also there for us to live through the countless opportunities we have every day to make a difference. The magic is in the moment and it begins by being aware that we are even having one thus requiring us possibly to re-consider our “hair on fire” existence.
In his book, The Book of Awakening, Nepo writes, “Have the life you want by being present in the life you have.” He is saying the only thing standing in between us and our hopes, dreams, wants, and desires is ourselves. Being present is engaging in those moments that occur in our lives countless times everyday, not dwelling on what happened yesterday or worried about what may occur tomorrow. Enjoyment and fulfillment come from truly living in them.