Experiences, not events

The air was fresh in the crisp winter afternoon. The smell of pine lingered and you could hear a breeze whistling through the trees. Max’s tail was wagging like a spinning top that it could hardly be seen. He did not say it but he felt joy. He saw a squirrel run past and gave chase for a few metres before stopping as the squirrel climbed up a tree to safety. Max’s tail and ears dropped as he looked up longingly at his prey he never got. He did not say it but he felt disappointed. When they got home, his guardian gave him his dinner. He wolfed it down and walked away smacking his chops. He did not say it but he felt satisfied. He walked to his bed and circled a few rounds out of habit before settling down and laying down with his head tucked just beside his hind legs and bushy tail. He did not say it but he felt relaxed and comfortable. Looking at him, you could almost tell that Max had had an eventful day full of experiences.

From the moment you wake till you rest your head on your bed again, your life will be filled with activities. From the get-go, you get up, brush your teeth, prepare for the day ahead, do what you need to do and before you know it, your to-do list has become your done or not-done list. In life, what you want to be rich in (not just money!), is in your experiences. Being wealthy in experiences is paramount for when you die, the only things that you take with you are not possessions, but experiences. The experience of joy when you felt your soul was free, sadness when you lost something dear to your heart, satisfaction when you reached difficult milestones, the mystery of your first love, danger when your life rules were infringed with the seemingly unknown and many more. Make each moment in your beautiful life an experience, a meaningful one.

When something happens, you can either perceive that as an event or an experience. Going through the same event can produce extremely different experiences for different people. One person’s blessing can be another’s curse. For example, if a girl is present at a party, it could be heaven for the boy who secretly loves her but hell for another who is trying to avoid her. Running out of money in the middle of university could be seen as a disaster for a student while providing a platform for another to be challenged and vastly resourceful to look for the funds to complete his course. Or, being more current, isolating yourself for 10 days after being COVID positive could be a pain for someone as he misses work while for another, he may be looking forward to the break especially if his clinical signs are minimal. How you experience an event becomes the experience itself for you, not anyone else but you.

It is easy to simply have a day full of events but not experiences. You wake up, go to work, talk to some people (maybe clients, friends, and/or family), cook some food and go to bed. It is easy to cruise through the day’s events. Are you really and truly living or merely existing? To experience life and not just allow events to pass, you need to be present. When someone is talking to you, are you completely present to listen and understand why is he saying it? It can take a remarkable amount of energy and headspace to do so and it may not be easy to do it all the time. Not only do you have to empty your mind, but you also need to open your soul too. However, when you do so, and fully experience that moment, you will almost instantly see the difference in what you receive and get out of that event. It will touch you more deeply in your heart and be etched further into your memory. The other party will feel the same. These experiences are what feed into your library of life. They can be easily missed if you were not present or ‘just cruising’.

When you attend an event, like an opera, on your hobby or simply any activity that involves other people, are you fully present? Or is your mind filled with thoughts, worries, to-do lists and such? Are you able to clear your mind, heart and soul so that every sight, sound, smell, touch and taste that comes to you very fully penetrates into your senses and fill them such that original memories are formed? When you leave that event, you are forever changed as when your mind, heart and soul are touched so deeply, you cannot help but evolve with them. Intentionally create your experience yet do not have fixed expectations.

Be sure to fill up your library of life. Enrich it with experiences, not events. Be a millionaire of experiences. There is a difference between saying, “I have been sky-diving” and “I have never felt so free and terrified in my life”. This same feeling could also apply to falling in love (or were you merely ‘in a relationship’). We thrive on experiences, not events. Certainly, it may not be easy to be so ‘present’ every single moment in your life. It takes a lot of letting go and some things in life need to be done with a clear purpose. Sometimes you push, sometimes you pull and other times you let go and allow yourself to be bathed in life. Are you living your life or is life living you?

To allow experiences in, you need to empty your cup. If your cup is full, it is much harder, almost impossible to fill it up with anything else, much less, with experiences. Seek experiences in your life. They may not be as difficult as you think. Be fascinatingly rich like that. Building a multi-million dollar company may produce as much satisfaction as raising your children the best you can and watching them blossom into good people. With both events, you will experience hope, despair, moments of genius, joy, sadness, disappointment, gratitude and wonder. To what extent entirely depends on you and your thoughts. That is the beauty of it. This ability to receive experience is available to all, not just some that are more ‘fortunate’. A snowflake can produce as much wonder and awe as David Copperfield flying on stage if we allow ourselves to feel. A simple gift of gratitude can change your entire paradigm. Live your life for real, not just ‘imaginary’.

Max did not just go for a walk, simply chased a squirrel, merely ate some food and fell asleep. He felt joy, disappointment, satisfaction, relaxation and comfort. Are you able to fill up your library of life with more experiences instead of events?

“Every new experience brings its own maturity and a greater clarity of vision.” Indira Gandhi

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