Several months ago, I was sitting in a therapist’s office recounting (okay, maybe “venting about” would be a more accurate description!!!) a series of events that, in my mind, had “ruined” the preceding day, if not my entire week, when the therapist interrupted. “I thought you had lunch with (a mutual friend) yesterday?” she asked. “I did,” I responded, realizing that in the midst of my efforts to marshal evidence to support the miserableness of the other 22½ hours I had completely forgotten to mention the lunch, if not mostly forgotten it happened at all. “Well, how did that go?” she inquired, patiently, with a knowing tilt of her head and a slight smile. The change in my demeanor, the softening of my countenance, and the quieting of my tone likely said what she already knew. “Great”, I confided, returning my gaze from the rain-drenched tree outside her office window and meeting her eyes, “our time together is always very special”. She let me sit with that for a few minutes – all of it – the pain, the confusion, the anxiety, the misunderstandings, the brokenness, the “not enoughs”, the “why me’s”, the warmth, the vulnerability, the empathy, the compassion, the silent tears that the weight of it all triggered – and then she leaned in. “Don’t you see?“ she asked, as if it should be as obvious to me as it obviously was to her, “you missed The Moment”.
Truth is: I didn’t see it and, regrettably (for ALL involved), I hadn’t seen, let alone understood it for many/most of my first 58 years on the planet. But, I see it now, clearly, and she was right. I know that, in part, because as I sit here baring my soul (yet again) several months after the fact, I have almost no recollection of any of the events that turned that day (or any day like it since) upside down, but I quite clearly remember the lunch, as I do similar moments like it that I’m learning to search for, recognize, and embrace to fuel my soul and inspire me on this journey we call Life. It’s more than a change in perspective. It’s an entirely different, more intentional way of living – and it changes everything! It’s the difference between allowing the smallest of bumps in the road (e.g., a misstep, a slip, a sideways glance, a hurtful word, a painful memory, etc.) to ruin a day and opening our heart wide enough, even in the midst of bumps, large and small, to allow the purest of moments (e.g., an unexpected act of kindness, a hug or kiss held just a moment longer, a word of encouragement or affirmation, a next right step taken when you were tempted not to, an expression of gratitude, a shared confidence, knowing that you’ve been heard, a gentle caress, a feeling of inclusion and true acceptance, etc.) to make it!
And, here’s the good news: You too can experience the day-making magic of a “moment” starting right now. All that’s required is a small pad of paper, intention, and an open heart. Here’s how it works: When you see, feel, experience, or, better yet, are responsible for creating something (ANYTHING) that makes your heart smile, if only for a moment, jot it down. At the end of the day, whether there’s one item on your list or a dozen, let it/them be enough – enough to have made the day worth living, worth loving, worth giving, worthy of the label: “A Good Day!” Because here’s the thing: If you don’t, if you continue to insist instead, as I once did, that “A Good Day” requires that everything go precisely as planned, that every waking moment be misstep-free not only where you, but those you love are concerned, that every bump, obstacle, and pothole, large and small, in the road be one that you anticipated or at least caught a glimpse of (and could prepare yourself for) ahead of time, you likely will spend a lifetime searching for it – and you still may NEVER find it. Worse yet, along the way, you will have missed thousands of sometimes good, often great, and frequently unspeakably beautiful moments. Trust me: In time, you won’t need the pad. It will become as reflexive as breathing, and your heart will feast on how much goodness there really is to be seen!