“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.” – Eckhart Tolle
On a recent trip to Italy, I set out to find a particular destination. My map reading skills were failing me. Every turn was the wrong one. Using Google maps kept me turning and turning but not getting me to my destination. A stroke of luck(brought on my actually going in the opposite direction) took me to the Pantheon. The Pantheon is the most intact artifact of the Roman empire. It is nearly 2000 years old. As I was standing in the plaza(Piazza) of the Pantheon there was the sound of music. In Rome, it is not unusual to have street musicians playing for money. Most of the music is hardly noticeable and noteworthy. Today’s musician’s were different. There was an excellent trumpet player and an amazing electric guitarist. They were playing songs that were familiar to me, but didn’t shake me out of my frustration. I was highly preoccupied with our current location and how we were WAY off course. I was feeling hopeless, defeated, and frustrated.
The guitarist then starting playing this very familiar riff:
As I was hearing this amazing rendition of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” I stopped immediately took a deep breath and said to myself:
” Nothing else matters. I am right here in Rome, Italy, enjoying a gorgeous day at one of the most historical sites in the world. Who the f@ck cares that I am not where I am supposed to be.”
At that moment every thing slowed down. I kept repeating the phrase “nothing else matters”.
Being in the moment is the hardest thing to do. We are usually projecting all our “what if” anxieties into the future, or ruminating about our past failures. Eckhart Tolle in 2004, wrote the book The Power of Now. The book gives us good meditative ideas about how to be “right here, right now”. To learn how to be in the now will require us to have patience with ourselves and to practice this art regularly.
One of the best tools that can be part of this practice is that of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the way of experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations that occur right now. A recent article about mindfulness describes how to use this tool for difficult feelings. If we can practice mindfulness and the Power of Now, we can learn to be in the moment better. As we learn mindfulness skills, we can be calmer, more productive, and less stressed.
On that fateful day in Rome, armed with my new self talk phrase “nothing else matters” I found my destination and had an amazing day. The frustration of not being where I wanted to be left. It was replaced by the melodic sounds of peace, calm, and letting go. In order to practice living in the moment, it would be better to start changing how you live now. Musical “coincidences” don’t happen everyday.
Change is possible.