Life is what happens when

August 9, 2012 By Archives, The Soapbox

The past few months, I have been trying harder and harder to live in, and enjoy the moment.  Too many times it seems I am looking into the future as to what will come, and not fully enjoying the time right in front of me.  Not a new concept by any means, but we have to admit this is much harder than it seems.  With every generation it gets harder and harder to live within the moment.  We are always packing our schedules full of things to do, and of course that takes precise planning.  We work our tails off in order to achieve what we want down the road, and once we get down the road there is always something else to look forward to.

Whenever I feel these thoughts coming on I try to remember this quote, and how true it rings to my ears.

Life is what happens when you’re busing making plans.

One way I have tried to combat this idea is with a simple concept I recently read about in the book Yes Man.  You guessed it, I try to say YES more!  Whenever I am presented with something from a friend, or a thought online, I try to say yes as much as I can.  Of course, I am not as extreme as the main character in the book who says YES to literally everything, but you will be surprised how much you really can say YES, and how great it feels.  Most often, when we are presented with a YES-no decision we take time to think, and plan, this is where missing life happens!  Sometimes you just gotta realize this is a YES moment, and say YES.  These types of moments are great because it is a spur of the moment type decision.  You have no choice but to be cognicent of what is happening during that experience, forcing you to live in the moment!

Another thought that has brought this idea of living in the moment to the forefront of my mind has been my involvement with an improv group here in Shanghai.  Improv is the ultimate form of living within the moment.  In summary, the cast is given a suggestion from the audience, and then seconds later they create a scene from that suggestion.  While there are rehearsals, and practice, improv is about creating something out of nothing right then and there.  The number one rule of improv, which very much compliments the say YES theory, is the yes-and rule.  Improv is all about taking the scene forward, and one of the ways we do that is to take any suggestion by a cast member and say yes to that.  Denying a statement or suggestion kills a scene and leaves it with no where to go.  An improv scene depends on the cast listening and picking up on the story of what is happening.  If any one person enters a scene trying to steer it one way or another, it could fail.  Improv is all about the moment, because the cast must figure out whats happening now before they can go anywhere.  While it may not be available for everyone, give improv a try if you really want live in the moment.

As much as I would like to say I live in the moment at all times, I do not.  However, like most things, being aware is half the battle.  Consistent reminders to yourself are huge, and go a long way.  Whether it’s joining an improv group, or writing cheesy quotes in your notebook/journal, try to remind yourself today, tomorrow, and forever, that living in the moment is a must.