One moment, one time. That is an expression a teacher used during a tea certification in San Francisco a few years ago. She quoted a Zen Buddhist saying which means roughly, “one event, once only.”
What it refers to is the fact that life events are in their way unique, one time only, non-repeatable. She was talking about tea harvests, saying that what is wonderful one year, may not be nearly as good the next year, or visa-versa. She said we needed to learn to fully enjoy something during its time.
You need to live your life fully, one day at a time. That means one event or situation at its time. All these daily happenings are actually non-repeatable. You simply have to be there to appreciate something, or accept not being able to go back and redo it another time.
Last week I noted how many “One moment, one time” events transpired – and they were many. I am in the business of conversations. Each of them is meaningful and not to be repeated. My job is to be fully available, to fully listen, hear and respond to others, hopefully with something encouraging to say.
In a recent “one moment, one time” conversation, I discussed life in general with an elderly widow. She asked me “So what is new?” I immediately responded, “Today is new. There will never be another day with this exact date. Once today is over, it will never be repeated. So we need to be present to each other and appreciative of the one-time gift of today.”
She smiled and laughed, as in the “You got me there.” She apparently hadn’t expected me to say that, to refer to something as simple and underrated as the date, the specific day we were living through.
We talked about how different and difficult her days had been since her husband passed. She shared some special memories with me, none of which could ever be repeated. The best she could do was to be grateful for them, and to hold them close in memory.
Life is a non-repeatable happening, filled with “one moment, one time” events. If we could but slow down and take note of the precious interactions we have, while they are happening, if we could only appreciate the short-lived gift status of life itself, while it was passing, our days would be so much fuller.
After my conversation with this bright, delightful soul, I went home. It was relatively warm for a late winter day. I took our German Shepherd dog, Lady, outside with me, to soak in some sun rays on the patio behind our house. I continued reflecting on “One moment, one time.”
Lady, ever the shepherd, silently scanned the neighborhood. I watched her and wondered what she was seeing, sensing, hearing and smelling. I noticed two mourning doves in a skeletal tree perhaps thirty yards away, permanent partners pruning themselves. I heard several young men joyfully playing a roughshod football in a nearby park. Everything somehow seemed as it should be. Then it hit me: this precise set of events would never happen again. One moment, one time. Appreciate life as it unfolds.