Be here, now

Cartoon image of woman in lotus position sitting on top of a ball of string, with stars in the background.
image: iStock

Have you ever thought about how incredibly vast and intriguing the universe is? It’s like this endless ocean of mysteries, right? Each star a little pinprick of light in a massive cosmic tapestry. 

And then there’s us, hanging out on this tiny blue dot, getting excited about the little things – like a perfectly brewed cup of coffee or the way your dog does that cute head tilt thing when you say “treat.” 

I love how we find joy in these small moments amidst this gigantic universe. A friend once asked me if I felt insignificant given the sheer size of the universe. I had explained how vast it is.

I mean, our sun is a star. Granted, it doesn’t look like a star, but that’s because we’re so close to it. Any of the stars in the night sky would look exactly like our sun if we were close enough to it. The distance between our star (our sun) and the next nearest star is about 40 trillion kilometres. Yes, trillion! A million times a million. 

If you flew it on a commercial jet and left today, you’d arrive there sometime around the year 20 million AD. You’d need some pretty advanced stasis technology to last the trip, but that’s another conversation.

But that’s not all. There’s a couple of hundred billion other stars in our galaxy, the milky way, most with around the same distance between them. The milky way is around 9 quintillion kilometres across. That’s a 9 with 18 zeroes after it.

And then in the observable universe, there’s a few hundred billion other galaxies, very much like our milky way, dotted all over the place.

Yes, the universe is vast. Hard to comprehend, actually. I can understand my friend’s question.

But then, this tiny blue dot is all we have. It’s where we live and it’s where everything that happens in our lives takes place. The universe might be vast, but you’re here, now, breathing this air, living your life.

So, no, I don’t feel insignificant. I feel awe when I contemplate the vastness of the universe. It gives me a sense of expansion, wonder, and awe. But then I look around me, take a deep breath, and smile as I remember that my life is here. 

I find it makes me appreciate the little things even more. Because the little things are what makes life, Life.

Like, have you ever just stopped and watched a sunset. I was awestruck the other day when we took Daisy for a walk in the late afternoon. It’s January and sunset is around 4.20pm where I live. The sky was literally an explosion of colours.

We’ve had a lot of frost lately. I find it so beautiful how it glistens when I walk. I relish the crunching sound beneath my footsteps. I am fascinated by the way it spreads over the leaves and branches of the trees like a magical enchantment.

I can ponder the universe, but I am here, now.

Vastness of the universe aside, I think we often miss what’s under our noses, so to speak. Because sometimes life happens a bit too much. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Have you ever been so stuck in your head, milling over problems and past conversations that you completely miss what’s around you? I know I have. Overwhelm is one of my personal challenges, because I often find myself with not enough hours in the day to do what I’ve convinced myself needs to be done.

So it can take some effort. But it’s well worth the effort. Try it today. Just stop, as often as you can, breathe in the air, and take a look around. There’s wonder to be had everywhere.

Not just in the natural world, but in each other. The sound of people’s voices, the expressions on people’s faces, learning people’s personalities, learning about people’s histories, their challenges, how they do things, their hopes and dreams. There’s an infinity of detail right under our noses.

There’s much more to this world than we realise.

I still ponder the vastness and mysteries of the universe. Sometimes, I wonder what’s out there in the distant corners. Maybe there’s someone looking up at their sky, pondering the same things we do. 

But then I take a breath and note that, for now, I’m just happy being here, sipping my coffee. Because that’s what life is serving up to me right here, right now.

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11 Comments

  1. Gerald Plumb on January 19, 2024 at 11:53 am

    You are the universe, that’s why you don’t feel small.
    Scientists break things down into smaller and smaller parts but what they are looking for is what holds it all together. It’s called life.
    I/me is just a thought. You are before this thought but I/me is the known and makes you feel safe

  2. Sue Rogers on January 19, 2024 at 12:22 pm

    Love it

  3. Michelle V. on January 19, 2024 at 4:38 pm

    Wow I felt that size of the universe as you described it in detail. It is vast and so are we. Glad to be here now with you. Thank you! beautiful message.

  4. Pat Wells on January 19, 2024 at 5:37 pm

    Love this blog David and I can relate to
    Your feelings and wonder, particularly out walking the dog. I observe frost on bush leaves and grass. I awaken by sunrise , don’t need an alarm ! So sunrise and yes sunsets, although I am more likely to be home by then, are Crucial to me. Notice how fast they go down – have photographed them many times waiting for the right moment. What a wonderful thing to be alive and observe different scenes each day.
    Thanks to you it all comes back to me. for the blogs – always a good read.
    Pat and “Otto”

  5. Anita Martin 89 on January 20, 2024 at 8:06 am

    As always David, you enlighten me with your thoughts and words. I probably am most centred and living in the moment when I’m playing with my dog Bailey. Animals are brilliant teachers of how to live in the now. They don’t waste time being anywhere else

  6. Gillian N on January 20, 2024 at 1:32 pm

    Hello, think I’ve mentioned this before. Could you please consider blackening the type-face of your website as, being visually challenged, I find it all quite difficult to read so much so that I haven’t been able to read the whole article. Many thanks for appreciating my – and perhaps others’ – difficulties.

    • David Hamilton on February 6, 2024 at 4:36 pm

      Hi Gillian, I’ll have a go. I’m not really sure how to change it, to be honest, as it comes as part of a website ‘theme’, but I’ll ask someone more web-teccy if they know how to change it. 🙂

  7. Trisha on January 20, 2024 at 6:42 pm

    What a great message! Thank you.
    The vastness of the universe is so beyond what I can easily imagine.
    Love the ideas of enjoying those little, but interesting things all around us you described.
    I always appreciate life’s simple pleasure, and you just gave make me even more to ponder!

  8. Michael Dawkins on January 21, 2024 at 5:07 am

    You always make me feel good David, thank you.

  9. Rebecca Deller on January 22, 2024 at 5:07 pm

    Thank you David, loved reading this blog! It took me away from my thoughts and worries for a second putting them into perspective then came back thinking different. Appreciate your wise words!

  10. Sarah Stewart on January 23, 2024 at 11:52 am

    Love this, especially “Because the little things are what makes life, Life.”

    I believe the statistic is that we spend half of our waking time not in the moment, but I’d be interested to know what this figure is in 2024… as I suspect it might be higher.

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