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Embracing An Ordinary Life

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

“It’s when I get lost in the days’s details, or so caught up in worries about what might be, that I miss the beauty of what is.”

Taken  from the “Gift of an Ordinary Day, A Mother’s Memoir,” Karina Kenison. This is the true story of a woman, wife and mother who discovers that what is most important in her life is an ordinary day. Now, her kids are almost grown and, having lost her job and career as a successful editor, she comes to realize what is really important in life. It is not the scrambling to make a lot of money, to be famous, to be the very best, but to enjoy watching her kids grow up and cherish each moment because those moments are gone for good.

For example, she laments the fact, that when the kids were young, it seemed like those years would last forever as she went about the daily routine of raising them and doing her job. At the same time, she realizes that there is not point in lamenting of what was because even this moment will pass and, therefore, it should be enjoyed. As one person who reviewed this book said, “Enjoy the simple things. Time goes fast. Take the time to enjoy your kids before they grow up and leave to college. The best moments are those that are not over-scheduled activities, but the things you do on those “ordinary days”. Another reviewer said, “Enjoy the simple things. Time goes fast. Take the time to enjoy your kids before they grow up and leave to college. The best moments are those that are not over-scheduled activities, but the things you do on those “ordinary days.”

By contrast, a friend of mine spends countless moments of his life worrying about current events, including the what is happening to the American Economy, American Politics and the international situation. These worries have gotten so bad that he has had to consult a psychiatrist and is now on Zanax to reduce his extreme anxiety. This person, as well as the rest of us, needs to read and remember the Serenity Prayer used by Alcoholic’s Anonymous:

“Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time…”

There are ways that people can learn to do this. Meditation is a good way to get into what is important in life. Exercise and good nutrition are equally important and incorporating Yoga into daily life also helps.

I will never forget what Zen Buddhist, Thich Nhat Hanh, wrote about life. This is a paraphrase of a how he handles life: “When I do the dishes I concentrate on that without looking to finish. I absorb myself in that moment because I will never again have that moment.”

Enjoy and embrace each moment of now.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

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