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Appreciating NOW
MIND HEALTH. Have you tried standing still for a while, looking out the window and just watching how the rain wets the leaves and plants and the street asphalt, just listening to the peaceful downpour? And then breathing in that fresh, cool air?

I used to watch the rain precariously because I was always hurrying here and there, beating deadlines, aiming to finish some things. And rain just kept in the way of all that. I watched it not because I was appreciating nature but waiting for the rain to stop so I can go ahead with my appointments.

Then one day years ago, after reading about so many deaths in headlines, and watching the images of death, I suddenly realized---you never know when you're going. And once your to time to go comes, you never have enough time to appreciate life and your loved ones.

I think I read somewhere about a couple. The last time they spent with each other was a terrible quarrel and then the guy died suddenly right after. What a way to spend your last moments on earth.

Since then, I decided---I'm going to do a lot of meditation from now on. I'm going spend much time appreciating NOW.

I often stop and stare at how the wind brushes against the leaves and branches of a tree, how ants patiently walk in line and greet and help each other with their task, how spiders patiently weave their webs, how lizards patiently hunt their preys, how birds play and sing gleefully, or how water rushes downhill in the street canal after the rain.

I even watch the lightning and listen to the accompanying thunder.

Then I marvel at God and all his wonders around me. The greatest stress relievers are available around us for FREE! And yet so many people are sick with stress-related ailments. It's because they miss the NOW and puzzle themselves endlessly with their what-ifs.

I realized that the most important time in life is RIGHT NOW. And the greatest achievement is how many of God's free wonders and blessings around you have actually enjoyed watching closely and counted.

So I often listen to my wife and kids telling stories, no matter how trivial or foolish. I so often watch my wife closely as she speaks or laughs or expresses surprise---her eyes, hair, lips, voice, pronunciation, gestures and idiosyncrasies. The same with my two boys and grand kid. I often imagine---this might be my last moment with them.

Then I also realize there is so much to do---so much appreciating and meditating on the goodness of God and his creation and the people around me---to be wasting my time on hurrying up and beating deadlines and worrying and achieving this and that to be admired by people.

Appreciating NOW makes you enjoy a full life few experience and understand.

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