Living in the Here and Now

4 Mar

The other day I was sat outside a cafe with Max, fairly standard behaviour round these parts, when he started holding his finger out to me a’la ET. I followed his lead and touched the tip of his finger with mine adding a little zapping sound for no good reason. This seemed to tickle him no end and inevitably the finger was up again waiting for me to oblige, again I reciprocated this time choosing a buzzing sound which also seemed to go down quite well. The pattern was repeated a number of times as I moved through my full repertoire of sound effects until I was saved by a barista baring gifts.

What I didn’t know was the whole while the lady behind me had been watching the little exchange unfold and with Yoda like profoundness said “there’s nothing quite like being in the now is there”. My reaction was to stare blankly back at her, a look that can be interpreted as either contemplative or docile depending on the generosity of its benefactor. She picked up on my docility and remarked “Tolle”. Same blank stare with perhaps an extra serving of docile for good measure.
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The lady now realising what she was dealing with broke into verse about Eckhart Tolle a spiritual teacher who waxes lyrical about the power of living in the now, rather than being burdened by past or future experiences. “Oh that Tolle” I offer up with a knowing grin, she obliges me with a forced grin. I drain my cup of its contents and try desperately to dredge up a ‘now joke’ but can’t come up with one so just say goodbye.

It was only when Max went down for his receding daily snooze that I reflected on the whole incident. She was absolutely right Max was completely in the now; all of him was consumed by the finger game he had invented without a care for anything else. The same could not be said of me; I was wondering where my coffee was, questioning why the peloton of cyclists on the table next door choose to shave their legs and debating whether I can rebrand the left over Bolognese as a toddler friendly Chilli, the finger game was just another distraction.
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In hindsight I was a little bit peeved at myself, “naughty Dadd” as Max likes to say, that I couldn’t just sit and indulge myself fully in a moment with my son. I realised that being a parent has taken me further from the now than ever before. I regularly scrutinise past parenting choices and the impact they have on the family, I pre-empt future anxieties surrounding Max’s development and generally attach thoughts to incidents that have either already taken place or are yet to take place. And this comes from a man famed for his laid back approach to all things ‘lifey’.

If there is one thing I think we can take from our kids it’s the ability to live in the now, to empty our heads where possible of the bits and pieces that takes us away from enjoying the moment. The next time, and I hope there is a next time, Max wants to play ET I will be there in it with him.
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Have your children ever turned the learning tables and taught you a lesson in life?

As always linking up with Jess at Essentially Jess

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15 Responses to “Living in the Here and Now”

  1. coloursofsunset March 4, 2013 at 2:18 am #

    I had to put my car in for service a couple of weeks ago. Nick was in the back seat as I pulled into the service part of the dealership. It had changed since my last visit and was now a “drive through” type service that was taking 10 times longer than the old park-and-walk-in service. I was getting quite antsy, and Nick says, “Mummy, sometimes you just have to be patient.” Hmmmm. Lesson learned! When a 4 year old knows patience better than a *ahem* 30-something *ahem* year old, there’s trouble!

    • daddownunder March 4, 2013 at 2:28 am #

      I love kids! Sometimes we just have to accept that they know best ; ) Thanks as always for the comment

  2. vickyfinch March 4, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    I have learnt more lessons from my three children then any ther experiences in my life. There really is nothing quite looking at the world through the eyes of a child. It becomes a place full of wonder and amazement. Hold onto it, because it passes far too quickly.

    That Echart Tolle, he’s right.

    • daddownunder March 4, 2013 at 9:45 am #

      Thanks for the advice Vicky, I am trying to do just that. I think we all start out life with a purity and its those who can retain as much of that purity when life kicks in that turn out alright.

  3. Richard Farrar March 4, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    Every child with whom I have interacted has taught me lots, including you when you were younger. As parents, we do the best that we can for our children providing we have their best interests at heart. We tend to stress ourselves about what effect our actions may have on our children. When I look at how well you, Joshua, and Laura have turned out I realise that your parents did a good job for you, as did we with our children, and none of us need have been so stressed. What is done with love will always turn out well. We did the best that we could with what we had and you’re all the result. That’s pretty cool, isn’t it?
    Remember as well that parents also need time to be “silly” with their friends as well as with their children. We all need a little of “Me” time. That is the secret of being in the present.

  4. leighleigh22 March 5, 2013 at 12:34 am #

    I wish for that time again when we had all care and no responsibilities. Looking at my boys and I’m amazed at how care free they are. They grow up so quickly, my boys have taught me how to slow down and breath. I hope that when things are crazy I can remember this. Excellent post! Love the blog as well!

    • daddownunder March 5, 2013 at 4:14 am #

      It’s all down hill from childhood, how depressing ; ) Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your kind words.

  5. Francesca WritesHere (@FrancescaBlogs) March 5, 2013 at 7:25 am #

    I learn lessons from them daily. I’m constantly somewhere else, worrying about something or other and there they are, just enjoying life. Big lesson there.

    • daddownunder March 6, 2013 at 3:49 am #

      It seems fairly unanimous Francesca, kids make great life coaches! Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Have a laugh on me March 5, 2013 at 11:34 pm #

    My kids teach me on a daily basis to slow down, even by sometimes telling me it doesn’t matter if we’re late – bless their cotton socks !

    • daddownunder March 6, 2013 at 3:48 am #

      Why the patronsing little s………..no your right thats actually adorable ; ) Thanks for commenting, your becoming a regular

  7. Alicia - One Mother Hen March 6, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    I am sure my kids try to teach me to slow down and enjoy what is happening, with them, right now. You know what when I just hang with them and forget about everything else I need to do, I am much calmer, they are happier. We just go with the flow. I need to do more of that.

    • daddownunder March 7, 2013 at 1:13 am #

      It’s a learning process this parenting lark isn’t it Alicia ; ) lessons more has become one of my mottos. Thanks for commenting Alicia

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