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Cherish your visions and you dreams, as they are the children of your soul; the blueprints of your ultimate achievements... your destiny. ~ Napoleon Hill

Seize the Moment

If you worry you die, if you do not worry you also die… so WHY worry?

The popular song, some time ago “Don’t worry, be happy” by Bobby McFerrin, capture the essence of how people should seize the moment (i.e. use the power of NOW!) At first, when listening to the song, it may seem quite childish to follow the “song’s advice” …actually it is regarded as downright stupid… because in our modern society there is plenty to be worried about and these pressures will not evaporate and suddenly disappear, when we adopt an attitude of… don’t worry, be happy!.

When we only listen to the words of the song, without taking in account the underlying spirit of the song. It is quite obvious that the words can only have meaning for hedonists and those people that are either driven by a childish irresponsibility to enjoy life regardless responsibilities or people under the influence of some kind of chemical substance (i.e. being high). When we are a mature and responsible adult, a pillar (i.e. a Rock of Gibraltar) for our family and society, then this “advice” implies an ignorance of the harsh reality and the highly competitive society we are functioning in today. However, once we relate to the underlying spirit of the song and the implications that this advice has for every day living, then these words, “Don’t worry, be happy”, attain a different meaning and a completely new view on life. Differently stated… “If you worry you die, if you don’t worry you also die… so why worry?“ and ”What must be, must be!

When interpreted by most “responsible and mature” adults, under the strict auspices and conditioning of our present social structures (i.e. matrix expectations), the mere notion of “don’t worry, be happy” are immature, shallow, superficial, downright irresponsible and even dangerous. However - on the contrary - I beg to differ and think that it reflects a higher level of maturity (emotional maturity or EQ), contentment and bliss that most people are unable to experience in modern day times. An Utopian vision?… it maybe so, but let me try and explain why I firmly believe that a view on life supported by a 'don’t-worry-be-happy'-attitude is a much more human friendly, productive and a mature or responsible way of approaching and dealing with the current up's and down's of life and the many challenges & changes that we are confronted with each and every day of our lives.

I was listening to an 11 year old client singing her own unique version of Bobby McFerrin’s song. She sang about all kinds of troubles and problem that she often encounters in her life and then ends each acknowledged “difficulty” with a high-spirited summarizing chuckle DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY! Her interpretation of the song and the way in which she perceive the adversities of life, sets me wondering and reflecting… Didn’t she already mastered a lesson about happiness, bliss, contentment and the ecstasy of being alive… NOW?

As adults, we can all learn a weird …but wonderful… lesson from the children that surrounds us each day. As “responsible adults” we are overly consumed by worries and unable to even “see” the countless miraculous moments of happiness that we encounter each and every day; and to unconditionally enjoy what life has to offer us concealed in LIVING each and every day to the fullest.

Without the ability of being happy without reservations, we are defenseless against the short lived cult of seeking joy at all cost. We start to chase the one joyous moment after another in life; if it is a priceless and precious trophy. We stumble through life… from one achievement to another… from one relationship to another… from one spiritual sensation to another… from one job to another… from one form of security to another… from one status symbol to another, …etc. We form these addictions, because we confidently believe that happiness lie somewhere in either the near or distant future… providing that we can patiently endure the discomforts of the present with as little pain as possible.

Modern and civilized man, especially since marketing - from religious dogmas to shoes, and everything else in between - has taken the place of common sense, has adopted a culture best described in a short story by Claudio Magris as… “Being human hurts, it doesn’t let up ever. Do this, do that, work, struggle, win, fall in love, be happy, YOU MUST BE HAPPY, living is this duty to be happy, if you aren’t it’s a disgrace. So, you do all you possibly can to obey, to be good and clever and HAPPY”.

The widely accepted cult of seeking joy at all costs is the result of people that constantly live in a state of “permanent short-lived existence” with new things of “happiness” popping up each day, in the many different forms of religion, hairspray, cars, sex appeal, all kinds of commodities, status symbols, positions in society, qualifications, …etc. Providing we have, could borrow, beg or steal enough money to buy these “valuable opportunities” of illusionary and short-lived moments of happiness and ecstasy in life.

Unfortunately, TRUE, REAL and LASTING happiness, joy or contentment (bliss) cannot be bought, nor is it contained in possessions, opportunities, financial security, a job or a particular position in life. This frantic jumping from one “joyous” moment to another, creates an intelligent organism that is driven by stupidity, effectively creating a life lived in quick sand, where the slightest mistake let us sink into limbo and misery and the more we struggle the deeper we sink. This cult of seeking joy isn’t a modern and contemporary phenomenon; it was and still is part and parcel of being human. Ever since the beginning of known time, we as mortal humans, were unable to overcome this trivial happiness and moment for moment joyous existence of “I will be really happy when…”.

As humans we desperately cling to short-lived moments of provisional joy that could soothe the pain of life and what the majority of people fails to realize is… life only obtains REAL, TRUE and LASTING meaning trough a synchronicity and equilibrium of success, happiness, problems and crises. In other words: A truly happy life isn’t possible without the existence of the dark compunction of uncertainty and helplessness; and the word happiness (bliss) would become meaningless outside the experience spheres of our own and others people’s sorrow, disappointments and frustrations. Nothing new and exciting can be created or established without - to some extent - destroying the old first, because to achieve a higher level of bliss, the “old form of happiness” must first be “destroyed” by sorrow, loss or disappointment and when we cling to “old” happiness for dear life; it efficiently prevents us from achieving a higher level of bliss or “new” level of happiness.

Obviously external things and opportunities can make us happy, BUT it is a hollow and short-lived experiences when it isn’t supported by an inner tranquility and equilibrium. Such an inner equilibrium lies in the realization that the most common and everyday circumstances and tasks contains the potential of being an unbelievable miracle on its own and that most of us have what we really NEED. If we are more patient, respectful, tolerant and willing to linger a little longer, then we would “see” or become aware of the miracle of life in the simplest of things all around us.

We will start to notice (i.e. seek and you shall find) the joy and happiness of life as hidden away in a garden full of flowers, a dusty old “plakkerskamp”, the sparkle in the eye of a pregnant woman, in the laugh of a child, in the song of an 11 year old, in an evening breeze, in the humming of someone at work, watering a plant, the texture of grass, the flight of a butterfly, the song of a bird, a poem, a candle that we light, a smile, laughter, the relief of a Tsunami survivor, a helping hand in need, …etc.

When we are able to seize and enjoy every moment of being alive, it is a truly amazing experience and then it doesn’t matter whether such an experience is either good (happiness) or bad (unhappy), it all makes life worth living and we truly feel alive. However, to achieve such a state of mind where we can enjoy being alive - even in the face of great sorrow and danger - doesn’t imply a fatalistic tendency, BUT an unwavering faith in our CREATOR, OURSELVES and our fellow man.

To keep FAITH and the ability to seize the moment (don’t worry, be happy) can be extremely difficult and may even seem totally impossible at times. However, when our philosophy of and attitude towards life is sourcing from an inner equilibrium (balanced self-empowerment, psyche management, self-worth and energies) as based on a realization that our POINT OF POWER always is in the present… the HERE and NOW; then we are able to create and sustain a level of bliss that is inclusive, long lasting, suitable and unfailable.

We should eagerly start to build and create a better tomorrow by being aware of our present thoughts and to ensure that our thought patterns (energies) are in equilibrium with our present circumstances and whether our thoughts and believes…

  • allow us to live in a dream world (anticipation) of what might, could or should be.
  • capture our existence within the confining boundaries of reality… that what is (i.e. only allowable possibility under given circumstance).
  • change dreams into reality, mainly by having faith, seize the moment and applying the power of NOW.

The fact that we should develop and sustain a philosophy of life that is fueled by a tendency to seize the moment as best we could, could provide us with though patterns (i.e. a mindset) allowing us to DREAM, deals with reality and establish the elegance to transform dreams into reality. However, changing dreams into reality (applying the power of now and to seize the moment) requires lots of patience, plenty of determination and a whole lot of guts, because we are conditioned and are constantly brainwashed that we should…

  • avoid questioning or doing something different or take inappropriate action to address the present “outdated” thought patterns or believe system.
  • postpone (procrastinate) to deal with issues - until a crisis develops - and leave the final decision to someone else or wait to make the choice till when the time is “right” or more “suitable”.
  • use fast-tracking (speeding things up by following ready made recipes) to get ahead as quickly as possible in life.
  • avoid the BIG squeeze often required to obtain permanent solutions to problem and issues.
  • be “passive” and frantically collect the “ultimate” level of information, speak to or obtain advice from “millions” of experts before taking any decision.

…and we shouldn't…

  • continuously think and reflect (meditate or a ME-moment), deal with our own uniqueness and learn from our experiences, both from our successes and from our mistakes.
  • constantly and SMARTly monitor, evaluate and immediately correct (applying the power of now) if and when we are required to do so.
  • clarify things, matters and concepts. Thus, continuously ask questions to ourselves and others, especially the so called “stupid” ones. “Simple” questions are quite often the most important ones and PLEASE do NOT assume that you understand, because assumptions could easily put you on the wrong trail of though when uncertainties are not really clarified and dealt with.
  • write down or type your thoughts, especially the more confusing ones for clarification purposes and to maintain focus on certain issues. Normally, we create lists for everything in life (i.e. ToDo Lists), except for those things that confuse us in life.. e.g. why do that person unsettle me?; I regard myself as open, and everybody else treats me as rigid, why?; when a person is late for an appointment, why do I lose my temper?; why do I believe that money would solve most crises in life?; …etc.
  • consult others (e.g. “spcialists”) to obtain more data, additional perspectives and a diversity of opinions and views.
  • develop an inner world measurement (assessment) strategy, because we need some gauge to indicate when we should take action (proactively) to prevent a current knotty situation from budding into a full blown crisis, forcing us into reaction and fire-fighting behaviors. For example: When we drive, we monitor the fuel gauge to determine when it is time to fill-up, which prevent us from being stranded unexpectedly; the heat gauge to see when overheating signals becomes dangerous and to determine (decide) what to do next to prevent a calamity.
  • prioritize what we regard as important in life (i.e. needs versus wants), determine guiding parameters that can direct thought patterns, choices and ultimately actions. A well formulated and sustainable PERSONAL philosophy of life (or GPS) - founded on personal minimum standards - would prevent us from spending energy on a number of “insignificant” decisions to please others and that saps our strength. Thus, first decide on a goal in life (CPD and refined it as PLP) before you actually concern yourself with the where and what of preparation (e.g. what to study)… when you choose to stay in Pretoria, you shouldn't concern yourself with property prices in Durban.

It should be quite obvious at this stage that DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY (i.e. seize the moment) isn’t a fatalistic attitude BUT an emotionally mature mindset, based on the power of NOW and an unwavering faith, a faith based on a firm believe that our CREATOR will provide what we need, when we need it (as promised, time and time again!). Therefore, DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY actually implies and translates as… dealing mainly with the current reality, the facts and the truths of the here and NOW. Don't let the past destroy the enjoyment of the present!, nor worries about the future! and… live in gratitude for what you have and still receive each and everyday.

Seize the moment or get seized-up in the moment!

Seize the Moment to make the most of the Power of Now!

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