“She smiled and said with an ecstatic air: “It shines like a little diamond”,
“This moment. It is round, it hangs in empty space like a little diamond; I am eternal.”
–Jean-Paul Sartre, The Age of Reason
Just like most other New Yorker on the weekday morning commute, I have my headphones on. I’m listening away to songs of inspiration that will propel me forward in the day. My songs of inspiration can range from Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” to The Smashing Pumpkins “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” to “Add it Up” by the Violent Femmes. The early songs provide motivation for the varied moments of the day ahead.
I know that each day is different from the one before and the one to come. I am lucky in that I can truly, unequivocally note that each day stands on its own and is never boring. I am also unlucky in that every day is indeed different and not boring. Occasionally, it would be nice to have a groundhog day or two. There are happy moments, there are hard moments and there are WTF moments. Oh boy, are there. It is the combination of all those moments that motivate me forward in my daily being and consequently my writing.
Growing up in the South Bronx, where we often looked out the window from behind window bars, the world was our television. We lived reality shows before there were reality shows. I watched couples fight and run away from each other. I saw a six year old girl get hit by a car and end up with permanent hearing loss in her right ear. I watched the kids splash about in the fire hydrant. I saw a boy crack his skull on the hot New York cement. I heard gunshots ring out beneath my window. I had a typewriter but I chose to write about fanciful worlds. I was not ready then to be mindful of the moment as I had to survive the moment.
One song that I eventually took to heart is U2’s “stuck in the moment”. As they note, you can’t be stuck in a moment. If you get stuck, life stagnates. However, you cannot ignore the moment. You can’t forget the moment. You can’t fast forward through the moment. There needs to be a sense of mindfulness. The practice of mindfulness is learning how to pay attention and “becoming aware of what’s going on around you or within you.”
Being aware of the moment can lead to an enhanced sense of being all round. I process each moment and get past each after I have quickly understood what that moment was about. By being aware of each moment, I have a treasure trove of moments on which to generate motivation. Author Charles Bukowski, of War All the Time noted
“some moments are nice, some are nicer, some are even worth writing about”
With that in mind, it is a good thing to always have a notepad handy on which to write down one’s thoughts when caught in a moment. Some of my best posts have been about moments that I struggled to get past because they were so shocking to my being. When I was confronted with the adoration that an extreme phony was getting everyday, I wrote (what for me is) a classic piece. It was called “It’s ok to be a phony as long as it is authentic.” When I started missing my mother more and more, I started writing poetry. A moment in the bath, a moment in the meeting room or a moment in the elevator led to an outpouring of words onto virtual paper. By being mindful, I am becoming a writer. That awareness is key to making the most of each day.