Living in the Moment

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Take a deep breath. Allow the air to fill your lungs, and just let your mind go still. What are you missing? What is really important in life?

Once you know what this is, latch onto it with every ounce of your being and let it become the priority. Life will go on. Change is inevitable. Bad things will happen. Good things too, if you let them.

For me, it’s all about living in the moment.

I don’t worry about the things that will happen tomorrow and I don’t fret over the mistakes I made yesterday. As long as there’s a tomorrow, there will be another chance to make things right. I refuse to sacrifice this precious moment in front of me for anything else. Like the artist who lingers inside of me, I capture it in my mind and hover over it, protecting it with all my might.

There is a quiet hush in the air as a storm slips in. It is coming in agonizingly slow, stealthily almost, as if it’s trying to sneak up undetected. The day started with an overcast canvas. The flat grey sky highlighted the black bare limbs of the November trees. Everything was utterly still, as if holding its breath, waiting. There wasn’t a squirrel or bird in sight. As I sat by my window watching, I imagined them tucked snugly into warm nests, dreaming of warm days and sunshine.

Life has a resounding element to it, as if nothing happens by accident. The stir of the breeze ruffles the last of the dry brown leaves, sending them scuttling across the hard-packed ground, uncovering an acorn that might be discovered later by a hungry squirrel.  The flurry of the day sparks my imagination, prompting me to grab pen and paper, spilling my imaginings into a place where they will be captured, like a photograph, so I can revisit them later.

Somewhere, not far from my quiet window, the world hustles and bustles, like it usually does. People fight traffic in their cars, noticing the color of the stop lights, but missing the color of the sky. They worry about jobs, money, and unfinished tasks, things that won’t matter at the end of their lifetimes when they are looking back, wondering what they missed.

Life is a series of events. We have no means of dictating most of them. The sun will rise and it will set. New lives will be created, while others are ended. People need to work to pay the cost of simply existing. The things that are in our control often spin away from us just out of reach. We struggle to change the tumbling direction of our lives, but we have no more control of this than we do the wind that blows from the heavens. Just breathe and let it happen.

There is a purpose. You have to trust that. Everything will be okay.

On our deathbeds, will we wish we’d beaten the Main Street stoplight, made a better presentation, or change the mind of a person filled with hatred?

Probably not.

We will wish that we’d spent more time with the ones we loved, enjoying them for the sake of just being together with no expectations. We will wish we’d treated ourselves with more quiet times, allowing our minds to slowly unfurl, appreciating the beauty around us, enjoying all these moments that were practically handed to us with gift wrapping.

The joy isn’t in the results. The outcome isn’t always the goal. Focus too much on the trivial things and we’ll miss the tranquil moments, the times when the world presents itself to us full and whole, ripe for the picking. Eat an apple and feel your teeth sink into the skin, as the juices trickle down your chin. Hug a child, feeling her small hands squeeze you back. Pet a cat and listen, really listen, to the sound of the purr. Delight is just a concept, a creation of our own making. Happiness is where we find it.

I sit in front of the window, watching, taking notice of the world outside. I am living in the moment, as I usually do.

I refuse to waste a single second.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

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Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

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 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

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Altered Destiny

ImageDo you ever wonder about your choices?

Sometimes I think life is nothing more than a path filled with forked roads. You find yourself at a cross-road and have to make a decision. Do I go left or right? Just that one simple decision could alter your entire life.

I narrowly missed being involved in a horrific traffic accident once. It really made me stop and wonder about it. I’d misplaced my keys that morning and spent a few extra seconds looking for them. Had I walked out the door at my intended time, I probably would have been killed. Those three or four seconds were life altering.

It made me really consider the concept of destiny. Every second of the day leads to the next second. What we do in those seconds dictates what comes next. Sometimes I don’t feel it’s entirely accidental. It feels like there must be a mastermind behind some of the planning, or at least I hope there is.

For me, my life turned on a dime when I was seventeen years old.

I had no direction in my life. I had no idea what I wanted to do after I graduated from high school. I didn’t have any passions or dreams. I just meandered from one thing to the next.

Then, one night everything changed.

I had a horrific fight with my mother, which led me to move out of her house and into my father’s house. This meant that I had to also change schools in my junior year of high school. The entire move to a new school was devastating and I didn’t know where to fit in. At my old school, I’d fallen in with a crowd who enjoyed partying, and I became a very devout rebel. When I walked into my new school, I saw in an instant that this just wouldn’t work any longer.

North Posey was literally in the middle of a corn field. The kids who went there were the kind of kids you see on sitcoms, American apple pie and sunshine. Future Farmers of America was a big club in the school, and nearly everybody in town went to the football games each Friday. A party girl from Mt. Vernon, who smoked and drank wasn’t going to last long there.

I tried to fit in. I really did. I hid my smoking and gave up the rebel attitude and tried to find my mid-western roots somewhere deep inside me, but I still just didn’t fit in. I’d changed schools in the middle of a school year, in the middle of my second-to-last year of high school, where friendships had long been established. I wouldn’t find my place friend-wise for nearly a year, but I found my lifelong dream in a classroom.

I didn’t know I was a writer until a teacher showed me that I was.

Mrs. Hunt was always smiling, but she could be tough when she needed to be. She assigned us small writing projects and then helped us improve our technique. I felt as though I’d finally found my calling. It felt like walking into a dream for me. I was mesmerized by the process of putting words on paper and creating something whole. As our projects got larger, I began to really stretch and grow. Mrs. Hunt didn’t let this escape unnoticed. She took my stories and read them to our class, as well as her other classes too. I couldn’t have been happier.

I took what she taught me and expanded on it. I majored in English in college for two years, and after dropping out to join the workforce, took creative writing classes on the side. I joined a writer’s group, wrote short stories, and just kept at it until I’d finally written something worth publishing. I wrote six books before one would be published. Lightning Strikes was actually my sixth book. The others were just practice books.

When I published Lightning Strikes, I wondered what had happened to Mrs. Hunt. I wondered if she knew of the impact she’d had on my life. I decided to find her. I reached out to a friend who still lived in the area and mailed him a copy of my book to give to her. A month later, I received a letter that made me cry.

She had fallen on hard times. Her husband was very ill, and she’d become bedridden. She said she once loved reading, but had given it up years ago. When she got the copy of my book and saw the dedication I wrote to her on the very first page, she cried. It meant the world to her to know that what she had done – the countless lessons she’d taught, had changed someone’s life. That letter was worth more to me than any amount of money in the bank.

If I hadn’t had that fight with my mother, prompting my move to a new school, would I have ended up as a writer? And what consequences did I set into motion when I found my old teacher and thanked her for inspiring me?

In the end, it all counts. Every bad decision, every stroke of luck, every lost key changes your destiny, at least a little. It’s one of the reasons why I always try to do the right thing. I’ve seen people with less integrity find greater success, and I’ve seen Karma look the other way, when she should have shot daggers instead. I’ve never had it easy. Nothing has ever fallen into my lap. I’ve had to fight hard for everything I have, but in the end I’m thankful it was difficult.

It all came together to make me the person I am today.

I’m not perfect, but I’m okay with that.

I’m me. I’m here, and I’m happy.

And I’m a writer.

Life is good.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

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Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

Image

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm