Healthy Mind: Life Living and Lessons - What I learned from Michel

I received a message, a couple of months ago, letting me know that Michel (not his real name) had passed away.  In as much as I had lost track of him over the last few years, it did not lessen the shock of hearing the news.  You see, Michel was one of those individuals who somehow managed to leave his stamp on you.  We had worked together for a relatively short period of time, early in our careers, and then our respective paths diverged.

Of our many conversations, there is one that, even today, remains so vivid in my mind.  It was as if it had happened yesterday.  Not to bore you with all the details, but we basically ended up talking about ‘enjoying the little things’ - something that he had mastered and I had not.  And, if truth be told, it is something that I have continued to struggle with although, I am better than I was.  It’s a work in progress!

So, what was so memorable you ask?  So insightful and powerful that it stuck with me all these years?  Simply put, Michel had shared the fact that he loved to sit on his back deck, a cigar in hand, and watch his lawn sprinkler doing its thing. I am sure that upon hearing what he said, I must have furrowed my eye brows if not rolled my eyes.  I do, however, remember walking away thinking, “Wow, is he boring?  What kind of life is that?”

Fast forward to the present.  I can say that I finally have the answer to what had been a rhetorical question: “It’s the best life”.  Enjoying the little things is the result of one’s ability to be present and in the moment.  If not, there is so much that passes you by.  When Michel and I had that chat, I don’t think that the expression had even been coined but he got it.  Regardless of what it was called, he understood the power of being able to do just that.

Today, it’s a concept that is talked about in both professional and personal settings.  From coaches and leaders to hockey players and students of yoga, from sales people and service providers to parents and educators, the ability to be present is a gift.  A gift to others and ultimately to one’s self.  In many ways, it’s the key to a successful, fulfilling, and ultimately happy life.

Thank-you for the lesson Michel!

Debbie Ristimaki believes in the power of being in the moment, enjoying the journey and embracing the lessons along the way. Debbie is a freelance writer and coach, currently living in Winnipeg. Her mantra: “We have but one life and live it we must.