“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
― Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa, bless her, had a matter-of-fact way of sifting through the vagaries, distractions and conundrums of life to mine nuggets of golden truth. She reframed our age-old struggle with time—it’s heart-breaking brevity, and all the existential angst that roils around that—with an almost mathematical, point A to B to C, dispatch. Life is short, she reasoned. There is no moment but the present. So, stop the carping and start living. Piece of cake, right?
Living in the moment is a truth we already know, yet still we contrive new ways to hide this awareness deep in some dusty back chamber of our hearts. Often our excuse is the distractions, which we perceive and thus experience as annoyances, of the daily routine. Ever wondered this one: “How did I manage to get the slowest. checker. in the history of Whole Foods?” Tick tock. Or this one: “What is the problem with that driver in front of me? I’m going to be late if he doesn’t step on it!” So, the potential of the moment—that perfect tabula rasa of time that’s wholly ours to be filled in with our highest intention—disintegrates into frustration, anger and even blame. The negativity snowballs, with physiological effects like a rise in blood pressure joining the emotional wreckage. Not exactly a recipe for living one’s best life.
So, the question becomes, not how to change the day—annoying distractions will happen, no matter how hard we wish them away—but how to change our reactions. Even the most aggravating distractions still are potential time savers. Let’s repeat that. Even the most aggravating distractions still are potential time savers. By time savers, I don’t mean mystical mechanisms for making time eternal. Time savers, as I’m referring to them, simply mean those moments that we’ve made the most of—moments we saved from the scrap heap of meaninglessness. These time savers are seconds filled with my (or your) conscious will’s highest calling, whatever it may be, for that sliver of the present. Some of the same tools for creating sanctuary in our homes can assist in saving a threatened moment in time, whether it’s on a gridlocked road or in a slow-moving check-out line.
When I feel myself drifting into the danger zone of distraction, I try to remember to pull myself back into the center of the moment with my energy. Energy equals love, so I harness that most sustainable resource. Love refills me again and again, and it has never let me down. Summoning that energy, that love, and wrapping it like a blanket around my vulnerable emotions, reminds me that positive spiritual intention is alive and well in each of us, even in me at what could have been a trying moment. That energy is a real game changer. Often, nothing else is needed. It transforms the moment. Before I know it, the negative acids that had been flooding my body are replaced by what fills nourishing, oxygen-rich and healing. I know my sanctuary practice has come to my aid once again.
There is one more sanctuary tool that’s easily transportable and that I highly recommend keeping in your handbag. It’s a fragrance that you find calming and restorative. For me, it’s a scent I found on a trip to Provence last summer and have since made sure never to be without. Thankfully, it’s available in a purse-size roll-on in addition to the pricier perfume bottle I keep on my bedroom dresser. The scent conjures all kinds of beautiful images from nature, as well as happy memories from a wonderful trip. A little dab on my wrist, and I’m back in my safe zone. Positivity ensues, and time is saved. What scents or tools bring you back to yourself? I’d love to hear. I keep lists of these things so please share in the comments below.