“Begin doing what you want to do now.  We are not living in eternity.  We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand — and melting like a snowflake.”  — Francis Bacon

How much of life do we spend waiting?  We wait for the bus, the plane, the train.  We wait until we are tall enough to ride the big-kid rides at the fair.  We wait until we are 21 to legally drink alcohol.  To vote.  To stay up late past our bedtime.  To get our driver’s license.  To move away and go on an adventure.  To buy our first car.  We wait for the plane to land and for our first kiss and for graduation from university.  We wait for promotions, raises, benefits, and bonuses.  We wait for love — true love — to enter into our lives.  We wait.  And wait.

And then there are the snowflake moments.  We don’t wait for ice cream to melt.  We don’t wait until the last of the chocolates are gone from the box.  We don’t wait for our vacation on Kauai’ to be over.  And we don’t wait for love to end.  Like that incredible sunset on Kaua’i, we want love to last forever.  And forever — because it is just so much fun and feels so great.  It really does.  We are just so lucky when we discover a Snowflake Moment.  toaster oven

These moments feel rare.  I read once that one inch of rain is the equivalent of approximately ten inches of snow.  That is a lot of snowflakes.   It takes a lot of them to get my attention.  But when they do, I am so happy.

It doesn’t take a social scientist to see a pattern here.  We don’t wait for these Snowflake Moments because we like these moments.  We find pleasure in them.  Savor them.  When they arrive, we feel supremely happy.  Sometimes they are over far too soon.  We share them and we tell our friends about them later.  We take pictures of them and post them to our social media page.  We write about them in our journals and maybe even make a scrapbook to better remember them.  We want them to last.  We are in the moment.  The joys of coincidence and spontaneity can be found in the Snowflake Moments.

I used to live at a high elevation on the snowy side of the mountains.  I shoveled a LOT of snow.  I shoveled the cabin roof, the woodshed roof, and the cellar roof to prevent damage or even collapse.  I shoveled snow away from the windows to prevent the surprise of broken glass and to allow some sunlight to stream into the windows.  I have shoveled my truck out of ditches and paths for hauling water.  I have done my share of what best can be described as Battling the Snow.  When I read this quote from Francis Bacon, I wish that I would have read it before I experienced all of those winters in such mighty snow.  I do believe that I would have gained a better perspective on digging out after a 3-day storm.

I would have told myself: Life is short.  True, there is a lot of shoveling to be done, but just Begin.  Focus on the moment.  Not on the blessed Chinook that will eventually start to blow come March and that will take care of the ice on the lake and the snow on the trail.  A reprieve is in sight: no more shoveling for another 5 months.  Whew.  I made it with all muscles intact.

Life feels so different now.  I am mindful of cultivating some sense of Focus . . . on Now and Try Something New and Begin.   I am learning that the fleeting fragility of snowflakes is truly very beautiful.  Stacks upon stacks of them . . . maybe not so much!  But they are gone so quickly.

I love what Francis Bacon has written: “We have only this moment.”  So beautiful.


4 thoughts on “Begin.

  1. Love your post.

    Seem like we spend a lot of time as humans doing rather than as humans being. The human doing is focused on the “to-do” list … on production … getting’ ‘er done. The human being is far more interested is noting the magic of being in the moment … of fully experiencing “what is.”

    How do you measure your success? Is it simply enough to be a human “being” human, or do you measure your worth by what you accomplish? I don’t want to be so production-driven that I risk losing sight of the beauty that surrounds me. I’ve been programmed from birth to, “make hay while the sun shines,” but what about taking time to simply enjoy basking in the sun? Is there not value and enrichment in doing both?

    For me, successful living is a combination of both being and doing. I get up every morning knowing I HAVE to make the coffee (if there is to be any in the pot to drink), but that doesn’t keep me from savoring the aroma while it’s brewing.

    Thanks for your insights. As always, you make me question and rethink MY dharma.


  2. I love what you have written here. Sooo true and wise. I agree that we have been programmed to work hard to be successful in order to “get ahead.” And you ask a great question as to how to measure success. I think that this is a question that many of us ask ourselves. Surely the definition shifts day to day but there is a basic core of balance that remains. It sounds so simple but if I get a really good laugh in every day, I feel like it was a good day. Last night, I thought I was going to split over something really silly. I could barely tell the story I was laughing so hard. Then I started to take pictures of it all. Too funny! I went to bed feeling great. Forgotten was the gargantuan completion of de-mossing the back deck. (An enormous physical and mental task that needs to be done twice a year.) The success was in the laughter with a loved one.

    I like what you say about being and doing. I think that is exactly right. There are chores that I consider to be a drag . . . yet, I do them. And try to do so with a cheerful heart. Be in the moment . . . be in the moment. I caught myself feeling really driven by my morning’s routine. And I felt time-pressured. Everything felt like a chore. While preparing the cat’s medicine in her special blend of wet cat food, I thought, “Stop and relax!” It was like pulling the E-brake on the train, like you see in the movies. Errrrrrrrrrrrk! I put the fork and cat food down, took a breath, and then resumed the task with intention. The cat deserves good intentions! As do I! 🙂

    I am accomplishment-driven, but not as much as I once was. There has been a shift more toward being, I think. How this will all spell out remains to be seen but I am doing my best to make good moves of appreciation in the moment. Thanks for writing. Love your insights!!!


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