Rebuilding your life one step at a time:  Being in the moment


enjoying the momentWhen you’re in the present moment, past and future fade away. There are no mental conditions for happinessThe simple pleasures of a sunrise or a sunset, the breeze on your face, a smile that seems to reach into every cell of your body, or a heartfelt conversation are always available. When you’re able to let go of thinking and relax, the clouds part. You automatically become like a child again and feel the radiant joy of the inner sun. When that sun shines, you feel whole – a part of something that extends far beyond your separate self…in the holy moments of presence, you feel a kind of solidarity with life that is the very essence of inner peace. (Joan Borysenko)


On my own journey to renewed health and wellbeing, I slowly but surely started experiencing more and more of these “moments” – moments that were filled with joy regardless of what was happening in my life at the time. This joy, emanating from a very deep place indeed, flooded my heart and soul with love for myself and others. It allowed me to forgive and to understand others – therefore bringing a sense of peace that I never thought possible.


The story I share below is taken from my second book called “Starting Over”. I took the photos at Moya wine farm near Stellenbosch.

Shadows and sunbeams 


 stood still, taking in the whole beautiful scene. Hardly daring to breathe, I did not just see it all, but I felt it. Now please don’t ask me how I could feel it – I don’t really know – but these days I just seem to feel things a whole lot more than in the past, whether it’s other people’s pain or joy, or my own of course, or things that I see like this picture here today, right now.


Oak tree at Moya wine farm near Stellenbosch   It was winter and the massive bare gnarled old oak tree stood proudly in all its glory casting its shadow all around on the grass beneath it. The sun shone brightly in the blue sky and threw its beam in between the branches to land on the grass just where I stood.  “Shadows and sunbeams”, I murmured to myself and I stood for a couple of minutes just gazing in awe.


     For the first half an hour in the park, I had felt worried and down in the dumps. Things were not going according to plan in my life at the moment, and as I walked around, my mind was swirling trying to find answers. And then I came to the huge old oak and I stood and I looked and it was as if in that moment my body and my heart became alive. My mind stopped racing and I knew I had found my answer − even while I had some shadows in my life, I still had sunbeams. In other words, my whole life was not bad or ruined − there were some worrying things happening at the moment, but I could still have the sunbeams with the shadows. I must not let the shadows so overcome me that I could not see my sunbeams.


       A peaceful feeling swept through me and standing there, I took a couple of slow deep breaths just trying to breathe in the wisdom of that old tree. I must also stand strong and proudly just as the tree does, even though it has to deal with shadows as well as the sunbeams.


At Moya wine farm near Stellenbosch      I had the daft feeling of wanting to hug the old tree and if there had not been so many people around, I would have. Instead I hugged it in my mind. Then I turned and walked on but now everything was different. I felt different, and everything looked alive, almost magical. The colours sparkled in the sun and I could only feel happiness and calm everywhere I looked. Everything looked friendly. “Wow, this is amazing,” I thought, and it was almost as if none of it was real − it was like looking at a painting or a photograph of a park with trees and water, ducks and people, and thinking “isn’t that lovely, I wish I was there.” 


    Everything had slowed down and it was as if time stood still while I was walking around that park. It was all okay, I realised suddenly − the shadows and the sunbeams were all perfect as they were and I felt renewed strength and vitality to face another day. Eventually, the time came for me to leave. I took one more long look at the old tree, at the sunbeams and the shadows and left the park with that vision imprinted in my heart.


   On this journey of mine, it has never ceased to amaze me where and how I find my answers. You can too – but you need to be open for them to come through. I just love the phrase “the music is all around – you only have to listen”. So quieten your mind and try listening.


Barbara Shepherd  is a holistic life coach and author in Fish Hoek   “ONE STEP at a TIME LIFE COACHING”  website:

Phone   021 7822098 or 072 437 2810 or email: