Ever been at an event and bought tickets for a raffle? Or maybe you were given a door prize ticket when you first arrived? Everyone puts their tickets in their pockets until the close of the evening when the draws actually take place. You listen for those magic last three numbers that signal you have won a prize.
Inevitably a ticket is drawn and the winner has already left the building. The people who are still there are quick to shout, “Draw another ticket!” That’s because of the rules of the draw is: you have to be present to win. In order to get the prize, you have to stick around.
But this is not really an article about door prizes or raffle tickets. Here’s what it’s really about:
You have to be present in life to win.
If you don’t show up, you are going to lose out.
Just like a door prize, it’s not good enough to just have a ticket. It’s not good enough to be alive but mentally checked out.
We are constantly doing it. There are countless times during our day when we are not present. Sure we might be physically present, but our minds are somewhere else.
We are at work but we are thinking about stuff to do at home.
We are at home but we are thinking about stuff to do at work.
We are having a conversation but one eye is on our phone or the TV.
If you are someone who does one thing but thinks about something else while you are doing it, you have a lot of company. Marc Wekslar coined the phrase “epidemic of distraction” to describe our current multi-tasking, crazy busy lifestyle in which people are pulled in too many directions.
We simply aren’t paying attention.
That’s how we lose out. When we don’t pay attention we miss the actual real time experience of our lives. We skim over the sights and sounds and tastes of what is happening. Sometimes we try to capture what’s happening in photos and videos and we share those with our friends. But our focus is not on the actual sensory experience.
How often do we just give our undivided attention to what’s happening?
Less often than you think. Yes I know you are busy. We are all busy. Some people are beyond busy. But there is a cost to the distraction that occurs with all that busyness. Just like those people who leave before the draw (probably because they are busy and have to get home), we miss the prizes that are right at our finger tips. Being mindful allows us to see the prize. It doesn’t mean that you are never busy or that you don’t look beyond the present moment. A practice of mindfulness brings us back to what is happening right now in spite of the busyness and distractions that get in the way.
Life is actually lived in moment to moment experiences – the sound of laughter, the smell of fresh bread, the warmth of a hug, the taste of a ripe strawberry, the connection you feel when you are truly seen by a loved one.
Those are the prizes. Just be present enough of the time to win.
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What are your moment to moment prizes?