Loving this

(The title of this post is a nod to the podcast of the same name)

Last weekend, my wife and daughter and I all went to the park here in NYC. It was a beautiful day, clear, sunny, and breezy.

I was sitting on a grassy hill under a tree looking at a brilliant blue sky and green life everywhere and the Hudson River, and I found myself thinking this:

“Wow, this is such a nice day. I love this view and sitting here among the trees. I really want to enjoy this kind of thing more. Hmm, I wonder if I can find some forested land outside of the city so I could enjoy this all the time…”

And then I took out my phone and launched Zillow.

Maybe because I’ve been meditating more recently, some part of my brain interjected at this point to point out the obvious:

“Hey dummy! If you want to spend more time enjoying being outside in the grass and trees on a gorgeous day, you can do that right now. Put your phone away!”

I’ve realized that I do this constantly, almost reflexively. I’m always thinking about how I wish something was different, how I’d like to do X in the future, what would make this experience better, or even how I can avoid something bad happening later.

In Michael Gungor’s book THIS, he talks about the buddhist concept of suffering being related to desire, and to our belief that if only <blank>, we’d be happy.

This is never enough. If only we had that, then we’d be happy.

Not only does reaching those goals never satisfy us like we expect, it robs us of our enjoyment of so much of the journey along the way. And for what?

Gungor says it well:

How is it possible for a being who lives on a sparkling blue planet with penguins and palm trees and trampolines to be anything but constantly overwhelmed with gratitude, love, and laughter? Why do we let so much life pass us by because we are coasting through its miracles on autopilot looking for something other than what is right in front of us? And what is it we are looking for exactly? Something more interesting or wondrous than THIS? What could that possibly be? What do we think we would actually be satisfied with? Trees with blue leaves rather than green? Money? For what? Fame? For who? Power? To do what exactly? Power to breathe more air? Hear something other than sound?

So I put my phone away. I stopped thinking about the future I wanted, and stepped back into the present moment I had already been given.

And then I spent 15 minutes taking this photo of a bee:

No matter what’s going on in your life, I hope you find some time this weekend to let go of the regrets of the past and the anxieties of the future, and just enjoy the moment for the gift that it is.

Much love,
Ryan


PS - if you have any interest in the email newsletter space and you’d like some interesting things to read on the topic this weekend, the first edition of newsletter² is launching later today!