"Are we there yet?" I asked. "Almost," replied Grandpa.
Each minute felt like an hour. After all, it was our first time visiting Florida since my Grandma and Grandpa had moved to Tampa from Wisconsin, and Walt Disney World was a dream come true for an 8-year old. The anticipation was killing me. Everything I didn't know about Disney World was waiting for me to discover it.
In the daily events of our lives, getting there can mean a myriad of things. For our trip to Florida, it meant entering the gates of the Magic Kingdom. In other areas of our lives, there might be a new job, finding our soul mate, or buying our first house--it really depends on what we intend to accomplish and how we think we'll feel once we do.
But in the meantime, how do we stay present and enjoy the moment?
In his compelling book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle writes, "The more you are focused on time--past and future--the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is."
By using common logic and without getting too esoteric, we can already be there in many ways--in our minds--but the only place we can actually [physically] experience is here--the present moment. The Now. Our powerful thoughts and imagination can take us in many directions--into the past or future--but the present moment is where all of our power is.
The moment we have right now is our moment of creation. Everything else is simply our imagination. But our imagination is directly affected by our thoughts in the present moment, and our future is changed by the thoughts that we hold.
Think of your thoughts like a pebble. If a pebble is dropped into a pond, it will start a ripple effect. So do thoughts. The thoughts you're thinking right now affect your future experiences--they have a ripple effect.
The challenge is one of anticipation--learning how to be happy in the present moment, even if what we are waiting for hasn't happened yet. Then, getting there will simply become the next moment and not the only point of the happiness experience.
* * *
As we finally pulled into the parking lot at Walt Disney World, I couldn't sit still--I was so excited. We finally arrived--we were there. But I had also felt the excitement of the whole experience, and this made the day seem that much sweeter. What could have been just the pleasure of the park became the full memory of the before, during, and after.
And by keeping that mindset and applying it to my life, I have learned how to maintain an appreciation of the journey, not just the destination.
Learn more about how to be present and appreciate the journey in 21 Days to Better Balance or one of Michael's other books at michaelsunnarborg.com/books.
Photo: My "Now" watch, courtesy of SPB