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2021 Jun

In the Moment

Peggy shares tips for finding your zen.

Recently I have felt more acutely aware than ever of the passing of time. I’ve written before about how the seasons spin by at warp-speed, but I can’t stop wishing I knew how to sloooow thingssss downnnnn.

Everybody I talk to is crazy-busy these days. What is up with that? It’s like we have to schedule down time, so we can hang out with friends or fit something fun into our schedules. Then when we make appointments to “have fun,” it suddenly doesn’t seem like fun anymore. It feels like another task to check off a list.

Stress is a huge factor in today’s modern world. The question is what can we do about it? I’m no expert, but I think the answer lies in what we do that takes us out of ourselves and into a creative, timeless, zen-like state. When we escape from our regular lives by doing these activities, time seems to move more slowly. It’s as if we drift off into a place where we stop worrying about appointments, deadlines, and to-do lists. We just are.

The trick is to identify the activities we do that bring us to this place of reverie and relaxation, where we lose ourselves, our sense of self, and merge with the moment in a creative, fulfilling way. Think for a minute about how you escape. Write down some of these activities and make a mental note to include at least one or two in your routine every day.

For me cooking in the evening is a daily escape. I love finding new recipes for healthy meals: cutting, chopping, cooking, smelling, tasting, and eating. Sometimes I play classical music while I cook. I’m totally in the moment. Peter and I recently decided to eat a mostly plant-based diet. This has challenged me to discover new ways of cooking vegetables and legumes. Last week I made an amazing broccoli soup with turmeric, peanuts, and crispy shallots. The flavors were revelatory.

There are other ways I get lost besides cooking. Walking in the woods, looking for shells along the seashore, listening to a symphony, taking a trip to a place I’ve never been before, watching the sunset from my veranda—these are all my favorite ways to escape from the busy pace of life. Notice that each of these activities awakens our senses—for it’s our five senses that make us feel alive, right? Too much technology has the opposite effect, doesn’t it? TV and computers tend to dull our senses, making us feel numb and mindless.          

Now is the perfect time to find more ways to feel alive. Make your list. Plan your daily escape. Get lost in the moment.

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and publisher of Tidewater Family Plus magazine. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com

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