This weekend I enjoyed an evening with my family at the small amusement park located at the Columbus Zoo called Jungle Jack’s Landing. The park is geared towards young kids, and it’s never been busy any of the times I’ve been there.
We love going to Jungle Jack’s Landing because it’s close and we’re Columbus Zoo members, so admission to the park is free. This means as long as we bring our own food, the only thing we need to buy are a couple of $8 wrist bands for my oldest son, Robbie, and me to ride the rides. We try to make it there at least once each summer.
This year was the first year Robbie was tall enough to ride all of the rides, so he was thrilled to have finally “made it” to the height required to experience every ride available. And I was elated to finally have someone to ride the roller coaster with me!
Robbie was a little nervous to try the roller coaster. It took a little persuading, but I finally convinced him to try it…just to see if he liked it. Much to my delight, he loved it. In fact, we rode it numerous times and I ended up having the best time I’ve had in a long while.
Living in the Moment
Today, as I reflected on the joy I experienced riding that coaster, it occurred to me why the ride made me feel so free. When I was riding that little coaster, I was living completely — and utterly — in the moment.
I wasn’t thinking about what I did earlier in the day or what I was going to do later. Nor was I thinking about the laundry still in the dryer, or the yard work waiting for me at home. I was simply experiencing each hill and turn in the ride as it happened. It was absolute bliss.
Many of you may already practice living in the moment fairly often. For me, it’s more of an ongoing goal that I occasionally get a glimpse of. Each time I get a taste, I want it all the more.
So, I know you’ve probably heard the recommendation to live each day as though it is your last. I love that idea, but in reality it’s hard to follow through with day after day. At least for me it is.
My challenge for you is to try something this week that forces your mind to quiet down a bit, and forces you to be completely in the moment. A roller coaster certainly did the trick for me, but any strenuous physical activity will do the same thing.
Alternatively, practicing meditation is a great way to pull ourselves into the current moment — once we learn to let go of our rushing thoughts.
Do whatever you need to, but get into the present moment and revel in it for awhile. Just having a glimpse of the freedom and joy that comes from letting go of the past and the future this weekend was a powerful motivator for me to find ways to incorporate that state of being into more of my time here.
I want you to experience this too.
What ideas or suggestions do you have for getting (and staying) in the present moment in your life?
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