I have a tendency to reflect on my past. As a regular reader of these posts can attest, I can spend time being critical of my past transgressions. However, I am also a very experienced nostalgia practitioner.
As Cathy and I prepare for an upcoming vacation in San Diego, I can easily wax nostalgic about my many wonderful memories of previous San Diego moments, past relationships, past homes and former employment. But here’s the rub: In almost every wistful yearning about a past experience, there is the realization that I wasn’t always conscious of my bliss at the time.
Nostalgic longings as well as future tripping were just distractions preventing me from living in the moment. I was either longing for the past or longing for something different in the future. I wasn’t fully present to enjoy the sweetness of my daily life. I was either remembering when life was better, or I was worrying about my future. The grass was always greener on the other side of my life. My love connection needed more passion or fun. My home always needed something added or removed to be just perfect. When I was driving a Miata down Pacific Coast Highway, I lamented that it wasn’t the Porsche I used to drive.
What a waste — waiting years to fully enjoy my life through the prism of nostalgic recall because I wasn’t fully engaged when it all happened.
Fourteen years ago, I decided I would rather enjoy all of my pre-nostalgia moments as they are happening. My intention, every day, is to create a flow of peak experience by doing things that light me up, and being fully present to the joy I’m experiencing — Now! Then, I take this contented energy into relationships with friends, clients and family, thereby cementing the moments in current memory. This is true sacred selfishness — being fully conscious every day to experiencing things that light me up, so I serve the world and myself from a place of energized, conscious fullness.
So, I am committed to doing what our friend, Dr. James Rouse, calls impeccable self-care — approaching every day with optimism, mindfulness, gratitude and service. The tagline of his company, The Well and Company™, is Embrace the Day™. This tagline is my new, enjoy-the-nostalgia-moment-now mantra.
When I embrace the day with optimism and mindfulness I will, in the moment, know how wonderful my daily life with Cathy is. I will experience and ground the gratitude I feel for the service we provide every day. I will happily celebrate the time I spend with my son and his family. I will enjoy the challenge of driving my Volkswagen (Portia) on snowy, pothole-ridden streets. When I look back on this time with the loving glow of memory, I will be able to say — I was there; I was present; I was happy and content.
If you have a tendency to unconsciously overlook the joy of this moment because you are wistful about that past moment, hit your Nostalgia Reset Button. Embrace your day. Be mindful about what enlivens you and do that. Be grateful for all the present moments that make you happy. Be very aware that you are living your nostalgic moments right now — and enjoy them.
Joyfully aware of nostalgic moments as they happen,