I was talking to a dear friend a couple of days ago and we started to discuss about how he retired from being an emergency doctor. This conversation was fascinating. We were discussing about how my friend’s dad also said nothing to anyone about the last day he flew as an airline pilot… and this conversation got me thinking… a lot!
I started to remember the last time I did certain things… my last day in certain countries, in certain houses, in certain jobs and much more! It was very very interesting. We build connections, we build friendships, habits, we enter a certain level of comfort… we grow into places and places grow on us… people… processes… life…
Specifically this conversation started around retiring… but really it started to make me think about the moment.
We use this “last time” to become aware of a moment, often times we even use this “last time” to ignore the moment, our feelings and just move on. But, in my point of view, the awareness of the moment is really important. Being aware not only of the last time, but to actually be aware of the moment you are in… that you are living!
One of my favorite things to do near my school in NYC (in TriBeCa) is to walk towards Battery Park, sit at a bench overlooking the Hudson River and take a moment… a few seconds, maybe a minute or two… to just experience being alive. This is what I do and what I recommend that you do… you don’t need to have an amazing scenery, anywhere will do… even at your office sitting on your work chair…
Sit down in a really comfortable position. Make sure that you are not going to be disturbed for the next 2 to 5 minutes… close your eyes and take a moment to notice your breathing… take a few slow and deep breathes… the rhythm is not so important as slowing the speed, slow it down and try to use the full capacity of your lungs. Breathe exclusively with your nostrils. After a few cycles of breathing, keeping your eyes closed it is time to move your focus of attention, from your breathing to your hearing. Start to pay attention to the sounds. If you are on an open space, begin to hear the sounds of nature, the wind, birds, etc. If you are at the city or your office pay attention to the sounds of the environment, listen to the clicking of keyboards, to peoples’ voices, to the sounds of cars, the sound of ferries and helicopters.
Don’t rush…. you only need one or two minutes (a maximum of 5) doing this to take in and become aware of everything your senses are capturing.
Most importantly, take the time to remember being alive and enjoy the moment!