Learning to Live in the Moment

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Photo by Kunj Parekh

Most of us live in the past or in the future – living in the “now” can be difficult. It has even been theorized by some that the “now” can’t exist, because as soon as we grasp the moment, it becomes the past.

For those of us who practice mindfulness, encountering life challenges can make the concept of a ‘moment” more real. But, it is often during these life challenges that we realize we haven’t been living in the moment at all – and this realization can be painful.

In 2003, I was living the American Dream, by definition. I was happily married, living in a nice house, with two children, and a thriving business. Over 23 years of marriage, our family had traveled most of the world. When I was back home, I tried to attend all of my children’s soccer games, dance recitals, and countless other activities – like all parents do.

March of 2003 was “The Moment”. A call came that our daughter, Emily, was in a car accident while driving back to college. Five days later she passed away. Friends and family tried to comfort me by reminiscing about all the places and experiences I had with her. The painful truth was, most of the time, I really wasn’t there. On our trips, my thoughts were often about where we would be off to next. At soccer games, dance recitals, and school activities, I was there physically, but my mind was at the office or planning our next trip.

It wasn’t until I experienced this difficult challenge that I started to apply mindfulness to my everyday life. In mindfulness, the goal is liberation from suffering – it has been said that pain is inevitable and suffering is optional. I’ve been practicing mindfulness for over 20 years now. Being perfect is not my goal, but instead I do my best to live in the moment. My mindfulness practice helps me accomplish this.

Fifteen years after this life changing moment, my wife and I are celebrating 38 years of marriage. We took the dream that Emily had and started a foundation bringing the joy of dance to those of limited means in the urban core of Kansas City.

Paul Silverman is a dedicated practitioner member of the Midwest Alliance for Mindfulness. You can find him at many of our weekly practice meetings and you can learn more about his daughter, Emily’s foundation at www.emsspotlight.org.

3 thoughts on “Learning to Live in the Moment

  1. Congrats on 38 years Paul! Thanks for sharing how mindfulness has helped you after the tragic loss of your daughter, Emily. What a wonderful legacy to keep her dream alive by providing dance to others!

  2. I joined this group when invited because I have started practicing mindfulness in my everyday life to overcome some very, very devastating and hard times in my life, I went through for a number of years. It has changed my life for the better in so many ways. My mind body and soul have been changed for the better in ways I never thought imaginable! They still do with each passing day. However it wasn’t until just now on a post from tonight that I saw the name Paul Silverman. I thought surly it couldn’t be The same Paul Silverman, the father of one of the most beautiful, kind, talented and compassionate friends I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, Emily was one of my friends. One of the greatest people and beautiful loving souls I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. As I sat here reading the blog I was reminded of how in this universe everything is connected and to say it blew my mind is and would be and under statement. I had no idea when I joined this group that Paul was a member. Mindfulness has taught me so much about how we are all connected, how everything happens for a reason. Seeing this brought tears to my eyes and has filled my heart with so much joy. Knowing Emily and being blessed enough to of had her in my life changed me for the better just as I know it did for anyone who experienced the gift of her life. Not a day goes by I don’t think of her or thank god I was lucky enough to of shared the time I did with her here on this earth. Part of mindfulness is being grateful for everything you have and being her friend is something I am forever grateful for. This is truly amazing!!!

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