There’s a scene in the movie Happy feet that’s got to be one of my all time favourites. One of the Mexican penguins is scared of heights and they’re all supposed to jump off a cliff to get somewhere important. So, he’s standing there all nervous and then says, “I must trick myself”. He then shouts at himself to look over “there” and jumps while he’s distracted. Pure brilliance.
We don’t seem to live in our lives much. We skirt around the edges, remembering the past, but failing to make new memories. We watch and hear other people (reality TVs popularity is a case in point) without having any real input into our own lives.
We fob off our children with simpering ‘not now’s’ and forget to look at each other. The years pass and we don’t realise that people change, have different views, experience other things – we miss the now on a daily basis. It’s not a new concept, stopping to smell the roses. But it’s not something that’s really managed to seep into the psyche of society.
Some days I’ll do anything rather than acknowledge the now of my life. Other days I just want to stand still in the awesome purity of the moment (but that’s rare). The people I spend most of my time with are all consumed by distraction as well. Perhaps it’s a vicious circle – the creation of chaos to escape the chaos.
There’s nothing more attractive than a person who is present with you in the moment. A person who really sees you and participates with you. Living together has lost its meaning – we should be engaging together. Walking a road together, filling that walk with conversation, understanding and meaning. We should seldom have conversations of “remember when”. We also should seldom have conversations of “when this happens, then”. We should always be aware of what’s happening right at this moment, be aware of today.
Unlike the penguin, I’m trying to trick myself out of distraction. I’m trying very hard to be present.