In his book The Moneyless Man, author Mark Boyle points out the irony that in the room we call the living room, the activity that we do most is watching TV. Does that count as living? I watch less TV these days but, before you think I’m smug, I have to say that most of my activity in the living room consists of being online: Facebook, Twitter, blogging… I’m not sure that counts as living either.
In my last post, I talked about Laura Vanderkam’s book All the money in the world and the need to be a little more conscious of how we spend our money. Mark’s comment about the living room made me think that I should also be a little more mindful about how I spend my time and not just my time when I’m in the living room. Wherever I am – in the car on the way to work, in the shower in the morning, in bed at night – the moments I spend are moments that I’ll never get back.
I remember a poem by the Spanish poet Antonio Machado that I studied at university. I can’t remember the actual words but the sentiment was that the moments of our life are a bit like water drops flowing from a bucket: the drops of water fall on the ground and seep away and are gone. We can’t get them back any more than we can get every moment of lost time back.
Which brings me back to mindfulness: a concept I’ve blogged about before. I’ve been on a mindfulness retreat and read books on mindfulness. But that’s not enough. Every day I need to ask myself, “Am I really living mindfully?” Every moment I need to ask myself, “Is this really how I want to spend this moment?” And every time I sit on the sofa in the living room, I need to remind myself, “Am I really living the way I want to live?”