“CARPE DIEM” – SIEZE THE DAY – Part 1
From its ancient philosophical interpretation to the modern Mindfulness interpretation, what does “seize the day” mean to you? I was truly blessed to have had a conversation with an elderly friend about how he copes with his illness. He has a terminal illness and expects significant cognitive decline over the next few months and years to come.
He said he had his good days and his bad days – and on his bad days, he had good moments and bad moments. He said he just grabs hold of the good moments and squeezes every bit of worth he can possibly get out of them. When he said this, I felt myself physically shudder with admiration of this man’s wisdom.
Carpe diem, a phrase that comes from the Roman poet Horace, and when loosely translated it means “Seize the day” or “Enjoy yourself while you have the chance”. What wonderful wisdom from the past.
Similarly, modern interpretations of this concept can be found in Mindfulness. Put simply, Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, without judgement or criticism. Although Mindfulness has it’s roots in Buddhist meditation, modern Mindfulness is commonly used as part of everyday psychological practice. Today we have the science that suggests that practicing Mindfulness can help us manage anxiety, depression, stress and many other conditions. Very few people escape my office without learning the basics of Mindfulness.
When we are not mindful, we speak without thinking, we are judgmental about ourselves and others and we allow our emotions to get out of control. We worry about and regret the past. We feel the victim of circumstances, events, and others through self-judgement and criticism. On the other hand, when we are Mindful, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than getting stuck in the problems of our past the past or predicting doom in our future. (sourced from Greater Good Magazine and Huffpost)
Deb Kahler – Psychologist