Life is a collection of moments.
The benefit of seeing life this way is that our experience of life becomes richer and deeper.
Also, we can deal with life’s undulations with more grace. When we are more present with the passing moments that make up our days, we can savour the good and help ourselves to gain perspective when things are challenging.
Having been experiencing life for 40-something years, I share here some of the lessons I have learnt about living an imperfect life full of moments: I have learned that
- Even the best moments in life are not perfect
- Moments pass
- Our attitude makes a difference
- Meditation is a force for good
- Gratitude breeds more good moments
- Inspiration for spending your moments
- There is something greater behind the moments
1. Even the Best Moments in Life are not Perfect
If we wait for perfection before we live – we will waste our life in inactivity.
If we fail to take notice of the small, seemingly insignificant moments as they pop up and slip by, we will lose out on experiencing some of the richness of life. Because life is a collection of moments.
It is better to live accepting things as they really are and get on with living, rather than waiting for a situation to be perfect!
I have mentioned the Stoics before as I enjoy their practical take on living life. They believed that progress beats perfection. In other words, they focused on living and living well with the understanding that life is never going to be perfect.
A moment of perfection? Sure. But it is a fleeting thing and not a value worth chasing unless you are looking for a life of frustration and disappointment, they believed.
On our best days, there can still be a shadow; on summer evenings when the weather is balmy and the skies are clear, the mosquitos arrive! Sitting around a campfire in the wild watching the flames, the creepy crawlies fly in. Enjoying date night with your significant other, one of you gets triggered and date night swiftly explodes into fight night (true story, many times).
During our best periods of life, we can get derailed by bad news, an unexpected diagnosis, or any number of factors beyond our control. Because the startling truth is that we have very little control over external factors in our lives. This is another piece of Stoic wisdom, expanded on below.
If we can aim to make progress rather than wait for perfection, our lives will remain in motion, which is how they should be.
2. The Moments Pass
It is helpful to remember that both the good and bad moments pass, so cherish the good and breathe through the bad. They will not be around forever.
“The Only Constant in Life Is Change.”Heraclitus
I had a day recently that seemed as if every new experience I had was sad or unpleasant. So I breathed, and wrote and talked about it, and by the end of the day the sadness was not gone, but I had had a lot of good moments too, and my equilibrium was somewhat restored.
We can choose to be aware of the moments as they pass. Even though life is not perfect, we can still choose to immerse ourselves courageously in it and experience life for all that it is.
3. Our Attitude Makes A Difference
We have good days and we have bad days, meaning we have days seemingly filled with more good moments and days filled with more negative moments and experiences.
The good news is that we do have some power over how our days unfurl – our reaction to events.
Our attitudes to the passing moments flavour our days. So next time a shadow clouds your day, is there a silver lining you can see?
Over 2000 years ago Marcus Aurelius, one of the Stoics said:
“The universe is change: our life is what our thoughts make it”
I posted that recently on Instagram because it is such a powerful reminder of how to live well. In fact, I post quite a few Stoic words there because, to me, this philosophy makes sense in turbulent times.
The Stoic philosophers believed that the only thing over which we have any control is our reaction to external experiences. Our attitude and actions play into this and I find it a good way to live.
4. Meditation is a Force for Good
In theory, I am aware that life is a collection of moments, and that life is short and I want to make it sweet. This is why I decided to pursue a simple life filled with moments that count rather than a blur of meaningless activity.
Meditation has helped me to learn how to do this better.
When we are present, we are able to move through experiences with more ease and calm.
5. Gratitude Makes for More Good Moments
When we develop a habit of noticing the positive moments and experiences and being grateful for them, more seem to appear. It just works like that.
6. Inspiration for Spending Your Collection of Moments
Life is a collection of moments that together create our experience of life. Life is grand, magical, beautiful, and terrible, but the collection of moments that make it up are often small, low-key and unexpected.
To a certain extent, we can choose how we experience life by becoming more aware of the moments as they pass.
- sit in silence for a few moments every day simply to be in the present moment
- actively seek joy in life by looking for it or creating it
- strive to make sense of an event in a way that has meaning
- let go of an event that is not serving us in a beneficial way
- adopt an attitude of gratitude for small moments which opens up our lives to experiencing more of the things that we love and so improves our quality of life
- appreciate someone we love, because we all like to feel seen and heard
- pause and look up and out to see the moments of ever-changing life as they pass – the colour of the sky, the sound of the breaking waves, the breeze on our face, birds flying home to roost
- remember perspective and how it can support us as we go through the ups and downs of a human life
- choose to take risks that support our creating an expansive life
- say yes to opportunities that serve our current desires or help us in our current challenges
- also to say no so you can take time to turn the spotlight on yourself and take care of yourself too
7. There is Something Greater Behind Our Collection of Moments
Spirit, God, Universe, Source, Intuition – call it what you will, I believe in a power larger than the individual.
In a state of flow, there is a larger source of inspiration, creativity and love that comes through us. I have experienced flashes of this “divine” as moments of creativity or ideas that seem to come through me rather than from me. I have also experienced startlingly clear messages that can’t be ignored. And I am finding that the more I meditate, the more this happens.
When this happens I am usually alone, either in nature, or it is very early morning and I am in bed. This morning I woke up at 4 am and I knew there was no more sleeping. So I meditated, drank some water, made a few notes and cast my mind ahead over the day. I then read.
I have in fact been waking early a lot lately, with ideas, and my big sister explains it as “Spirit is trying to contact you.” My big sister is very spiritual.
I have always referred to these periods of early waking when I have a rush of creativity, not very creatively, as “a creative patch.” (I am not yet as spiritual as my sister, but working on it!)
These experiences are momentary. They are short-lived, powerful and personal. They are silent, solo and internal, yet they combine with other moments to enrich and expand life enormously.
And I thought this poem fitted here.
You might see an angel anytime
and anywhere. Of course you have
to open your eyes to a kind of
second level, but it’s not really
hard. The whole business of
what’s reality and what isn’t has
never been solved and probably
never will be. So I don’t care to
be too definite about anything.
I have a lot of edges called Perhaps
and almost nothing you can call
Certainty. For myself, but not
for other people. That’s a place
you just can’t get into, not
entirely anyway, other people’s
I’ll just leave you with this.Mary Oliver
I don’t care how many angels can
dance on the head of a pin. It’s
enough to know that for some people
they exist, and that they dance.
A Collection of Moments
As days make up a life – so we need to be mindful of the moments that go into the days. We would do well to become more aware of the moments. I always recommend meditation as a tool for practising mindful presence.
Here is an example of some simple moments that made my day nicer:
- This morning I took a moment before the school run to pick some jasmine from the garden and put it in a vase on the kitchen table. Stepping out into the cool morning air and selecting a few dew-covered blooms to pick was a moment of sensory delight. I was alone, it was quiet, I could gather my thoughts in that brief pause as I focused on the delicate flowers.
- When I got back home I took another moment to savour the scent of jasmine as I opened the door. It was an uplifting few seconds, and it added positively to my day.
So I would suggest that you spend some time being and not only doing; resting, sitting, lying on your back staring at the passing clouds, so you can just be in the moment – and be engaged in your life.
If you want to make a start on making a collection of moments, and making a good life, start by focusing on yourself. Get to know yourself again, begin a love affair with you, as you are, now.
Get to know the life you live and the life you want to create.
To help you get started I created a cheat sheet and a checklist with some simple systems to use to get through your days, well.
They include doable beneficial things like starting your day with a glass of water, a brief meditation, writing a page to loosen your mind. They also include tools like gratitude and setting intentions and more. My hope is that they add ease and some self-focus into your days.
You can grab them here or hit the button below.
Thanks, as always for reading