While cycling through Sudan (yup! you read it correctly, c-y-c-l-i-n-g) on his trip across the world, Alastair Humphries stopped in a Sudanese market to enjoy falafel sandwiches after a full day of pedaling through the death of desert. He explains,
“I watched people buy a single cigarette, half a loaf of bread or a single banana. Arguments erupted over the smallest of coins. If you sell one of your five bananas you can buy a piece of bread for tonight. There is no planning for tomorrow when every cent you own must be spent to eat today.”
As I lay by the poolside on a smothering Wisconsin summer day, suffocated by the humidity, I began to think about how awful of a life that would be. In the same instance, I felt gratitude for being given the ability to serve others by working to make an income so I can live in comfortable day-to-day. And then it happened! I paused, quirked my head to the left, and noticed a rush of all powering-knowingness flow throughout my being. My face drew closer to the sun as my organism levitated to preach on the peasants below me. “Ahem, let it be known, that I…..”
Actually…. none of that happened. It felt right to keep you on your toes to suspect something dramatic was about to happen when in reality, my gaze when from my book to few clouds above me as I lifted my head to the sky to ponder what I just read.
Then this thought came about…
Maybe the key to obtaining life's happiness is focusing on today and what we have rather than be bothered by what we did or what we might do. It’s easy to ride the wave of future thoughts about tomorrow's plans or judge if we made the right decision by giving that special someone a finger in the butt during sexy time ( you all know who you are), however, is this helping our mental state at all by continually focusing on everything but today? What if those plans or decisions didn’t matter because all you had to live for was, well, the day and tomorrow was an uncertainty? Would you love a bit harder? Would you smile a bit bigger?
They say there are no bad experiences in life, and that all experiences are gifted lessons to learn from. The next time you find yourself stressed about a situation, take a step back to analyze why you are feeling the way you are. Are you stressed because of thoughts of future tense or past events? Then ask yourself, how can I learn from this situation to lessen the burden of stress for next time?
We really don’t know what tomorrow will hold for us, but our mind sure does a great job of trying to predict what might happen. By consciously noticing the thoughts we have, we can re-frame our thinking to appreciate what we have today. Little by little, each conscious decision to stop, assess, and learn will allow us to feel that mellowness that lies at the heart of each and every one of us, more often.