It was the end of a midweek workday when the phone rang. My friends Judy and Jim were on the Eden’s Expressway heading home, when they had an idea:” Hey Arlene, how about you and Howard joining us for dinner at that Greek Restaurant on Touhy Avenue? We can pick you up in about ten minutes.”
And I said, yes, indeed, a great idea, we’ll be ready.
I was tired from a long day, Howard had been hours in front of the computer… and we said, yes indeed, a great idea, we’ll be ready
Were we people pleasing and unable to say no, high on too much caffeine or just plain bored with life? Or genuinely excited by being with friends we hadn’t seen in a while, not to mention skipping the cooking and cleaning up after dinner?
It was a spontaneous decision, and we had a heck of a fun time.
Fact is, we often incorporate these unanticipated happenings into our routines, be it a walk when the winter’s day is unexpectedly warm or taking the train downtown to see the new exhibit at the Art Institute. “Momentary impulses, unprompted, without external influence, force, cause or plan;” the very definition of spontaneity.
Another definition of spontaneity might be described as “being in the moment,” being absorbed into whatever is going on around you without resisting or judging.
There are times, the end of a midweek workday, for example, when we are so engaged with our job, our anxieties, our fears both imaginary and real, we become stuck in an unalterable past or the fears of an imagined future. The “what if’s” distract us from the purity of the contemporaneous moment and we forget, we are here, in this instant of time that is the present.
Being mindful of the present moment leaves us open to whatever situation is presented to us as it happens. We can observe and enjoy what is happening as it happens, rather than thinking, ‘what’s coming next?’ By being mindful of the existence of each present moment, we are open to new experiences, creating the space for spontaneity.
And when Judy and Jim call, we can be standing in the moment, ready to go!
With Love and Light,
Arlene Englander, LCSW