This is it! – Flip

This quote is from Flip, who used to be my massage therapist. It’s a quote that’s bigger than life. It’s one of those A-ha moments.
In 2011, we were sitting in my living room discussing my very first retreat for which I had ‘hired’ him to provide massages to the participating women and he asked me what my vision for the retreat was.
I was a bit baffled. Of course I had a vision for the retreat. It was just the first time that anyone had asked me that.
So I went on to explain all the great plans I had with the retreat and the follow-on program I was creating. And Flip, in his very calm nature, just sat there and listened.

Really listened.

And it felt so nice being listened to.

And that’s when it hit me: I hadn’t listened to someone like that in a while!

I had criticised my friends and family of not listening, really listening to me.
But come to think of it, I hadn’t listened, with all my heart, either.

You know how we often criticize in others what we actually don’t like about ourselves?

We are so busy doing what we think needs to be done. We are so wrapped up in our to do lists. We are so often thinking about the next thing we need to do, about tomorrow, about the party next week, that we forget to live in the moment and realize what is really going on around us.

Because, as Flip then accurately put it “This is it!”.

This is life. This is the moment. This is now. And it’s all we have. And it’s all we can control. The past is gone and the future not here yet.

So why is it so difficult to just live “it”?

It’s because of a lot of “ions”

  1. Distractions:
    Television, internet, our phones, traffic, noise… We are constantly distracted. And we think we need to pick up the phone, yell at the guy who just cut us off, post what just happened on Facebook. Of course we don’t. But we do. And we often miss the little things in life. Your son who asks you to look at the drawing he made in school today. Your husband telling you you’re beautiful in that dress. So when you get home, turn your phone off, set boundaries on time and locations where you check your messages (i.e. no Facebook or email in the living or kids room).
  2. Actions:
    Due to our busy lives, we have our heads full of stuff all the time. Action items from our last meeting, our shopping list for tonight, our to-do list for tomorrow. They are constantly running around in our heads because we don’t want to forget them. And although writing them down on lists does not necessarily make them go away :-), it’s a start to quiten your mind, at least for a while.
  3. Lack-tions:
    We are often reminded of what we lack. A wad of cash, great hair, the ability to speak in public confidently. These thoughts goof around in our head instead of letting us enjoy what is and what others have. So what if she has great hair and you don’t? This is it. It’s not going to kill you is it? Why does this lack make you jealous anyway? Trying to get to the source of it, often helps to get rid of it.
  4. Connections:
    If your creative brain works like mine, then you’re constantly connecting things. You see something and you think ‘oh, that would be such a great thing for my friend X’. And you make a mental note to send it to her later. You hear a piece of information and you think ‘oh, that would make a great blog post, song title, etc’. They’re all great sparks of course and much needed to be creative. But they can keep you from living in the moment. Why do you need to connect ALL the dots in the world? That’s just impossible. But knowing myself, I also cannot stop doing this. So I signed up for Evernote where I can just send my pictures, ideas and notes to and pick them up later. Or you can set up Trello, which lets you plan with others (your family, colleagues, friends you launch a musical with,… )I am freeing my brain to be in the moment. Phew…
  5. Attractions:
    We are pulled. By things we love doing, by people, by actions. They attract us. Because they are often more interesting than what we are doing at the moment or what someone else is asking us to do. Checking your email is more interesting than listening to the boring guy in the meeting telling you about some sales numbers that won’t make a difference in your life whether you listen to them or not. Reading a book is more attractive right now than playing outside in the rain with your kids. And fighting or suffering through one thing to get to another is not really fun. So why not create space? Check whether you really need to attend that meeting or how it can be made more interesting. Suggest to your kids to join them outside and get soaking wet if you can afterwards cuddle up with a good book. Because often enough you CAN get the best of both worlds. It’s just a matter of organisation.
  6. Organisation:
    A lot of the above often enough comes down to bad organisation. Because if you organised yourself well enough, you would have time to do it all, right? Wrong. Because even if you are the superwoman of organisation, things never go according to even the best laid out plans. And you can’t organise EVERY thing. But organisation is a good start. So look at where you can organise your time better and where you can put in some systems.
  7. Un-expectations:
    Make sure you fit in some ’empty’ slots: to fit in the unexpected things, to just give yourself a breather or to do the things you like doing.
  1. Realization:
    Realize that you should not over-do, over-organize your life.
    Realize that you are not perfect, never will be and that that is perfectly ok.
    Realize that ‘this is it’. It’s up to you whether you want to be in ‘it’ or not. It’s all you’ve got.
    Realize that at the end of it the ‘this is it’ moments were all that mattered.
    Realize now that it would be a shame to miss them.

Live it. Be it. Do it. Have it.