“Parting is such sweet sorrow” imparts a message of Shakespearean wisdom. After a fortnight of intimacy, the young Romeo professes to his Juliet one of literature’s most potent descriptions of an impending departure.
This is finals week at Austin Peay State University. It is here where I remove my “Corporate Business Speaker” cap, and put on my “Inspirational Teacher” hat. All my classes will now come to an end. As it has been for me for the past 15 years, some of the classes during the semester were sweeter than others. The classes I enjoyed the most will leave me with sadness. I will miss the interaction with those interesting and engaging students.
All situations must end. Special moments can leave us with bittersweet emotions. Nothing has changed in 400 years since Shakespeare wrote us that message.
But I also believe the great “Bard” was giving us another insight: Cherish your moments in time. And it should not just be the special ones (my emphasis).
The skill of being in each moment necessitates practice. Try this exercise. Get a Starburst or some other flavorful candy. Unwrap the candy. Place it into your mouth and close your eyes. (Please do not do this exercise while driving or texting).
You will be amazed by the intensity of the flavor. The sweetness of the candy will pop in your senses. Moments in time are like that. When we are full engaged, those moments get that much sweeter.
Some individuals have a difficult time just being in the moment, regardless of sweetness. To those I prescribe getting a catchphrase like “Be Here Now” or something that has meaning to you. Whenever you find your mind, heart, and body wandering away from the moment, say your catchphrase. With much concerted practice, you will be able to acquire the skill of wrapping all your attention around that sweet moment.
Here is another activity for your perusal. In his book, “Peace Is Every Step,” Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh proposes a mental exercise to feel the magic in every day moments. It concerns the mundane task of doing the dishes. Master Hanh suggests that the next time when you are washing the dishes, don’t rush through them. Immerse yourself in the moment. Feel the warm water on your hands. Notice the rhythm of your hands as they create ripples in the soapy water. Observe how the bubbles in the water glow and have their own magic. Feel the texture of each dish and appreciate its artistry.
When fully engaged in a mundane task like washing the dishes, or doing the laundry or making the bed, you will find it much easier to find the sweetness in more meaningful life moments.
This is true wisdom for the disengagement of today’s world.