Tag Archives: Moment

Look, Listen, Live

19 Jun

When walking down the street, switch off your ipod and listen to the birds.

When riding on the metro, lift your eyes off your paper and smile at the person opposite you.

When stuck in traffic, turn off the radio and sing your favourite songs with all your heart.

When on a long journey, put your laptop away and look at the incredible trees lining your route.

When back home from a long day at work, get off the sofa and go to watch the sun set.

Thank You for Reminding Me

3 Dec

“It’s sunny outside”, for the first time in what seemed like months I lifted my head from my computer and looked out of my window.

My stunned eyes took in the beauty of the park in front of my house. When was the last time that I took notice of what was around me? As if in a trance, I got up from my desk and opened the balcony door. Like Alice in Wonderland I felt like I’d stepped into a fabulous new world.

A world where birds skip from tree to tree, and children ride scooters singing. A world where teenagers swing their rucksacks as they walk home from school. A world where elderly men smoke pipes as they carry fresh baguettes home for lunch.

The world right outside my window had become more distant than riots in Egypt, presidential campaigns in Russia and the state of the stock exchange. For weeks I was focused on one thing only: my work. New responsibilities, new expectations, new commitments. I would wake up with one thought in mind: to perform as well as I can at my job.

I studied, I focused and I worked. Sales, economy and business. All my thought-power and energy going onto my computer screen. All my thought-power and energy going onto things happening thousands of miles away. Laws, regulations and – most importantly – results.

This is not what you’re here for. Your work is not your reality.

I stood on my balcony for the first time in weeks.

Peace. Silence. Sunshine.

Rays of sun were warming the plants that I hadn’t watered for weeks.

A soft breeze came shyly towards me to say hello. We hadn’t seen each other for months. He wondered whether I remembered the moments we’d spent together in spring.

Leaves were yellow and discreet. Trees danced with eyes closed. They nodded to me with a smile, feeling my presence.

I breathed.

This is not what you’re here for. Your work is not the reality you wish.

The sun waited for me every day, but soon it let the clouds take over.

The birds sang outside my window, but soon moved to more welcoming lands.

The trees whispered sweet secrets, but fell silent when they realised that no-one was listening.

I was too busy thinking about international relations and corporate reputations to notice.

This is not what you came here for.

I know. Thank you for reminding me.

A True Moment of Peace

29 Apr

It was a mild and clear evening today; I had dinner on the balcony and decided to stay outside until it got dark. Legs crossed in half-lotus, I sat and watched.

I watched aeroplanes draw pink lines across a blue backdrop. I watched the leaves on the trees wave gently to me. I watched a thin purple cloud spread its thin limbs for the night in a comfortable place in the sky. I watched the wind play hide and seek between the branches. I watched the sky put on its grey pyjamas. I watched the trees fall asleep when the wind got tired of playing with them. I watched pollen float from left to right, as if unable to make up its mind about where to land.

There were sounds too, of course. Leaves whispering secrets to each other before lights out, birds singing lullabies, and dogs tiptoeing outside the house.

As I sat watching and listening, I lost track of time. Was I outside for ten or twenty minutes? Or perhaps I was there for half an hour?

Absorbed by nature, I felt myself extending into its vastness. During this moment, I felt open, still and quiet, just like the trees, the grass and the sky around me. I was meditating without knowing it.

By taking a rare opportunity to observe a tranquil evening, I got a rare experience in return: a true moment of peace.

Life’s Beautiful Surprises

4 Apr

Crane Lifting Moon

We often hear that the greatest opportunities and our life’s most important moments come from being “in the right place at the right time”. This can also be called ‘sheer accident’ or, as I like to call it, ‘destined coincidence’. With no prior planning or intention, we meet someone, see something or participate in an event that overthrows our life. This comes as an unexpected coincidence, yet it is so perfect for us at that precise moment, that it puts us into a sort of ecstasy. We are overwhelmed with happiness at the beautiful surprise that life threw our way. We cannot believe that none of this was planned; as if we were getting the present we most wanted from an absolute stranger.

Yesterday, I happened to be “in the right place at the right time”. Through a series of coincidences and intuition hints, I found myself meeting one of the bestselling British writers of current times. Not something I was expecting on a quiet afternoon in a foreign country! I was part of a small group to attend the writer’s talk at a literary festival in town. The writer, down-to-earth and honest, talked about his new novel, and, at the end of the event, was more than happy to chat in his mother tongue to the only Brit out of the group (me!). Our brief exchange created the possibility of this author hosting an event at the London bookshop in which I used to work (and to which I am still greatly attached). And all I had planned that day was a walk in town!

This meeting with the talented modern writer completely disoriented me. I was ecstatic not only from having had the opportunity to meet this author, but to have met him so unexpectedly, in such a perfect coincidence. And this got me thinking: are perfect moments like this only possible as coincidences? Or are they perfect precisely because they are coincidences? I doubt that I would have been ecstatic had I planned my meeting with the author months in advance; in the same way as knowing what you will be given for your birthday takes away the joy and surprise of receiving the present. It is precisely the surprise of such a perfectly destined coincidence that made the moment so special.

I wanted to say thank you for this wonderful gift. But who was I to thank? Who do we thank for a destined coincidence? Who do we thank for a perfect moment? Who do we thank for life’s beautiful surprises? And how is it that we should show our gratitude?