5 Ways to Live in the Moment
It can be an incredible thing to do to actually be mindful in any particular moment. Oftentimes, routine gets the better of us, or we find ourselves snapping countless photos of something rather than actually taking it in. Through my experiences with mountain biking, I’ve decided to list a handful of simple ways in which we can prompt ourselves to really feel alive in everyday situations, to admire and take in the moments that mean the most to us in life.
- Bicycle maintenance
The last thing you want when you’re facing a solid hour uphill pedal is a rusted chain or a tire that’s low on air. Like maintaining your bike, maintain your life by forming good habits and practicing well-being regularly. I devote a few days every year to picking out built up grease from my chain with dental tools; to lubricating everything, making sure my suspension and brakes are tuned. Similarly, we should pick out a few moments of every day to tune ourselves. Consistent work is needed make sure to maintain our ideal selves by clearing up clutter, practicing good habits, avoiding toxic relationships or negative people. How can you sit down and enjoy a mindful moment to yourself if you’re surrounded by clutter or negativity?
- Focus and balance
It may be the hardest part — maintaining my focus as I’m going around rocks or crevices, especially on a steep stretch of downhill trail. I’ve made a few mistakes that resulted in some injuries simply because my focus had been absent. Whether you’re walking through a park, writing an exam, preparing for an interview, or even on vacation, if you want to live in the moment, it’s important to maintain focus and not let distracting thoughts plague your mind or draw focus away from something you’ve devoted your engagement towards.
- Keep pedaling
Every now and then I’m doing a trail and I’m put into a situation where I can’t stop pedaling but everything inside of me is urging me to do otherwise; whether it’s swaths of deerflies that swarm the second I stop moving, an impending thunderstorm or a broken collarbone (in one instance), we’re placed in situations where we have to keep going. It is, believe it not, possible to still find a moment of peace in the midst of chaos; to practice composure in the face of devastation. Often, it is even the hard moments which are moments we tend to remember — consider the quote/book title of Charles Bukowski: “What matters most is how well we walk through the fire”. When I had broken my collarbone, I continued to bike another 30–40 minutes to my car, upon which time I appreciated each simple accomplishment and simply focused on taking everything step by step — taking my tires off, squeezing my bike into my car, getting my seat belt on, etc. rather than allowing panic to overcome me or self-doubt to prevail which would have certainly happened had I envisioned every necessary step all at once. In other words, looking up the mountain you have to climb from the bottom may be discourage but celebrate each step up that you take and you’ll be looking down at the mountain before you know it.
- Slow down and enjoy the journey
Sometimes it’s easy to get too attached to the idea of getting from point A to B and I’ve often found that, surprisingly, some of the most serene moments I’ve had stem from utter exhaustion. It’s easy to keep the destination locked in our sights but sometimes life can be more about the journey. Road trips, for example, have a magic air about them because of that feeling you get when you take that on-ramp and leave town, regardless of where you’re going. Walking to our cars, to our office buildings, through the grocery store — these are moments that take up our day so we may as well enjoy them and exploit their potential rather than trying to save a few minutes by rushing through everything and focusing on the next phase of our journey.
- Take in the view
Nothing beats reaching the destination after an arduous journey. This is what you’ve worked for. When I reach the lookout I’ve been biking towards, the lake I’ve been biking to jump into, or even my air conditioned and mosquito-free car, it’s a phenomenal feeling of an earned accomplishment. It’s about the reward, the stillness that’s earned through our efforts — that’s why we do absolutely everything it is that we do. Don’t just move onto the next project, onto the next rung of the ladder, onto the next chore— enjoy the view while you’re there and appreciate yourself for that moment, as well as your incredible effort.
Follow up: 7 Ways to Be a Great Person