Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Be in the Moment

“Be in the moment” is one of those pieces of advice or a homily that gets thrown around so often that it becomes white noise.  We hear someone say it, we consider it—very briefly—then we go back to fretting if our plane will be on time or fuming because the red light is so long.  Are we ever “in the moment” long enough to seriously ponder what being in the moment actually means?

Over the recent holidays we were traveling and happened upon an urban mall that was new to us.  Thinking that we might stumble upon either some pre or post- Christmas bargains, we decided to do some exploring.  We discovered several retailers that were new to us, one of which was the Lululemon store.  First impression is that they carry athletic and workout gear so we went in.  Our stay was a brief one, due to the fact that I don’t spend $60-$100 for shorts, tees or workout gear.  What caused us to linger was the Lululemon Mantra posted in the front window.

The mantra read:  This is not an ordinary mantra.  Rearrange your priorities.  Life isn’t about coming to the party with a box, it’s about being there, your heart on your sleeve, your laughter ready to exercise and your ears ready to listen.  Create magic.  Learn something new with your friends.  Be all there in the moment, it’s a beautiful day and you are way too amazing to be doing the things you think you have to do.

This mantra intrigued us and we reentered the store to visit with a sales associate, not about the clothing but the company philosophy.  We learned that the clothing line was created to offer technical athletic fabrics for a variety of workouts, but initially for those involved in yoga.  More importantly the first store in British Columbia was designed to be a community hub where like-minded folks could learn and discuss beneficial aspects of a healthy lifestyle.  The young associate also informed us that staff is not trained only to assist with sales but to be a positive influence on those who walked in the door, thus making even the act of shopping or browsing a healthy experience by encouraging a moment to reflect on personal health-related issues.  Nice idea and timely beginning a new year.

We crossed the mall looking for a cup of coffee and, of course, spotted the ubiquitous green sign of Starbucks.  We added the caffeine buzz to the already existing buzz of quality conversation about the business philosophy we had just learned that seemed so different than exclusively an economically-driven bottom-line agenda that is so prevalent in our culture.  Many are familiar with the Howard Schultz philosophy in general; specifically, Starbuck’s mission is to inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.  As we’ve traveled, setting up a meeting at a Starbucks is pretty common for us because a barista is never far away, the quality of the product is dependable and the atmosphere captures one of their values which is to create a culture of warmth and belonging where everyone is welcome.  It’s not an accident that one will encounter students with laptops and tablets, business deals being discussed and new or old friends getting acquainted and reacquainted over a hot drink.

We were clearly “in the moment” as we enjoyed our coffee and discussed the interesting and inspiring visions and philosophies of these two companies:  act with courage, challenge the status quo and find new ways to grow; deliver our best and hold ourselves accountable; be present; do one thing a day that scares you; listen, listen, listen, then ask strategic questions; breathe deeply and appreciate the moment.

 A carney may call me a rube to naively swallow such drivel—it’s just a new-age marketing strategy designed to accomplish the ancient goal of separating me from my money, some may say.  However, at least in this moment, I choose to think of it as one more act of cultural redemption that we need so badly.  At least in this moment, I choose to have an awareness and appreciation of all I hold to be near and dear to me and not forfeit the time and opportunity to do so.