There is something about those moments that capture my breath even as I scramble to figure out why. I catch myself wondering what just happened and, while the moment taking my breath away may be simply that, I know my experience of life has just been altered in some way I hope I can hold on to. When I’m lucky, I can just sink into it, breathe it in, know that something powerful is happening, and whether I understand it, I can simply live it.
I LOVE those moments, and while they come far too rarely in my over-scheduled and overly demanding life, they do come. I’m trying to be more aware of them and trying to slow down enough to sink in when I notice myself struck. Last week, I lost my breath:
- Walking out of my office to beautiful rainbow at dusk
- Watching my daughter and spouse at the kitchen table, working diligently on their projects, their matching silhouettes in bodies three decades apart. (I was so immersed I forgot to snap a picture)
- Witnessing the courage of colleagues as they bravely talked about how racism persists in our communities and what we can do about it
- Gazing from the top of East Peak in Meriden, Castle Craig, after I’d just run up more of the mountain than ever before
- Holding the need and vulnerability of my little ones as they had dueling 103 temps
- Sitting with my insecurity, and having the guts to share it. Not only was my insecurity held safely, I was reminded me of something I very often forget: I matter.
Besides simply getting me to stop.for.a.second, each of these moments offer me a choice. I can choose to accept and embrace them, or I can move on with my insanely too.full.to.be.cool life, and miss it. There is also the middle ground, which I take often, which is to stop and take a peek at the rainbow, maybe even pull out my camera, and move on with my day, my brief memory digitally stored in IMG format. The risk of which is pulling up the picture 25 years from now and seeing a rainbow without remembering the crisp air, the gentle cool breeze, the way the sunlight completely yellowed the sky behind me, or how I changed the route of my run so I could stare at the sunset instead of turning my back.
The other choice is one I’m still getting used to: breathing it in, being aware and present. It is also vulnerable, raw, courageous, and uncertain. I don’t know if the 103 temps will mean extra cuddles and chicken soup, or a trip to the E.R. or worse. Truly being in the moment means acknowledging that I worry, that I am afraid of relishing my present because I fear losing all I am grateful for. While for me learning to “walk on eggshells” and being “afraid the other shoe will drop” were learned young, as I mature, I have learned that whatever our reasons, these fears are almost universal. While there is no cure, there is acceptance. I can accept and embrace this moment, since it’s all that is truly real, and I can accept my fear too. I just won’t let my fear of unknown tomorrows take today from me.
What are your secrets and tips for accepting and staying in the moment?