By living in the moment
Living my life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
With peace in my heart.
Songwriter Jason Mraz has it figured out but living for the moment is a concept foreign to most of us caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. We forget to slow down and smell the roses.
It seems we are constantly striving for something we don’t yet have or are in a hurry to travel to somewhere we haven’t been.
We reminisce about the past and plan for the future. We eat fast food, drive fast cars and chase that elusive dollar. Our senses are constantly assaulted by noise.
Instead of just being in the moment and finding simple contentment in an increasingly isolated world. Technology, which is able to connect us in a nano-second, has ironically caused a disconnect and ennui amongst us.
Social isolation and loneliness is especially prevalent amongst seniors who often live alone. Alienation is rampant amongst our disillusioned youth.
We long for connection and comfort and coziness.
The Danes, who are considered the happiest people on earth, get it. They call it “hygge” pronounced “hoo-gah,” which describes everything to do with coziness, togetherness and community. Hygge is a feeling.
According to Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well, we Canadians know something about hygge but have another word for it…”homeyness”. That could include lighting candles at dinnertime, creating a warm ambience or sharing a meal and conversation. Comfortable beds, cushions and comfort food. Connecting with nature which is key: “Tending to your tomatoes while having a chat over coffee with the other gardeners is hygge-like and meditative.”
Slowing down. Being mindful. Being still. Connecting with others. Embracing trust and intimacy.
According to Wiking, Denmark ranks #1 in the world for overall “happiness” and “trust” because of its commitment to health care, education and social support, higher taxes notwithstanding.
And above all, because of its belief in community with emphasis on the common good.
As our beautiful province burns with over 200 forest fires raging, nowhere is hygge more prevalent than in British Columbia.
With thousands of people forced out of their homes and thousands more on the verge of evacuation, people everywhere are reaching out to offer support to the victims.
Those who have experienced the ferocity of fires such as the survivors of last year’s horrible inferno in Fort MacMurray, Alberta, know all about what it means to lose the comfort and security of one’s home.
Neighbours helping neighbours.
Strangers reaching out to offer the basic comforts and necessities of life and in some cases, opening up their homes to welcome evacuees.
On a much smaller scale, I have experienced the fear and confusion which accompanies being burned out of one’s home. My first-married Christmas was not spent in our new home as expected. Rather a neighbour, who carelessly left a cigarette burning, made sure that wouldn’t be the case. Thanks to all the help we received, we got through the experience unscathed.
Living for the moment has taken on a new meaning for the BC fire victims. Comfort is sometimes a tangible thing but other times, it is simply feeling cared for by strangers with expansive hearts. A sense of togetherness and cohesiveness in a hostile environment. Proffering a feeling of security and trust in a frightening situation.
Social connection at its best.
That’s what community is all about.
It is comforting to know that hygge is alive and well in beautiful British Columbia.