one small moment at a time
My daughter brought home a 2nd grade assignment where she had to write a story about something that was a “small moment”. She chose her time on the playground with her best friend, Amara.
The idea of writing about a small moment sparked something in me.
I spend most of my time on “big” moments. Since they happen fairly often in my world, it’s very easy to get caught up in them.
I was reading something once by Martha Beck (in Finding Your Way in a Wild New World - the book that sparked my trip to South Africa) where she was referencing the humans capacity for storytelling.
Essentially the idea boils down to this: as humans we learn and process information through story telling. While most animals can communicate, they don’t “tell stories”.
If you look back over your life, the things you most likely remember were told you in story form, and/or you've created a story around a moment or a memory. Over and over, throughout our lifetime, we tell stories and each time we tell a story, the emotion of that story is present.
If the story is about your amazing vacation then the emotion is perhaps overwhelmingly positive for you and potentially jealousy-inducing for the listener. If the story is about your bad day at the office well then...the emotion follows.
This is one reason (among a thousand) that I am extraordinarily careful about my word choices.
I remember when my former husband and I were first living together. We bought a book called “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff in Love”. It was a good short-story-kind-of-read so each night we would take a chapter and read to one another and then discuss the story as it related to our life.
One chapter was about treating your partner like a “punching bag”. I was shocked when he told me that was how he felt at the end of most days. (Simultaneously grateful we had discovered something important so we could do something about it.) My status quo at the time was to come home from work and relay the stories of my day - reliving the emotion of each of them.
As my partner, he would feel the emotion and the effect of it on me and on him. I was astonished to learn that my “processing” made him feel abused. It was a realization that challenged us as a couple; both in our capacity to communicate and to process our individual circumstances.
Being divorced the last 4 years I haven’t had anyone to really “talk to” about my day and simultaneously, I’ve found other ways of processing. One of them is through meditation. Another is through writing my “pages”.
Each night I write for approximately 30 minutes without aim or goal. I free-write. Truly, there are no paragraphs or spaces - just page after page of text. It’s the approximate equivalent of 3 wide-ruled legal sheets of paper, except I hate legal pads and wide-ruled paper, so I instead write in college ruled wire-bound fancy notebooks that work beautifully with my Pilot G2 0.5 ultra fine black gel ink pens. (Did I mention bespoke is a core desired feeling?)
As I lay in my bed the other night starting to write what caught my eye was the moon rising over the mountains out my bedroom window. I watched it as it went from large and somewhat hazy in it’s 78% waning moon size (shrinking from its fullness on 12/3) to appear more distant, more white in color and certainly more solid. As I was watching, I realized that this was my “small moment” story of the day.
I was happy that I had successfully accomplished what my now 7 year-old daughter was already mastering…paying attention to the smallest parts of my day, the ones I often take for granted.
My girls and I talk about appreciation and gratitude regularly. You’d be hard pressed to find a human in my life who hasn’t heard the words “I appreciate you because…” or “I’m grateful to you for…” As a Reiki Master, gratitude is part of the precepts and my daily commitment.
Often it’s about the BIG things or the "people" things. This moon rise was different.
I was simultaneous grateful for being alive and my post-lasik eyesight so I could see the magnificence (big things) as well as the coziness of my space, the feel of my blankets and the blank page before me where I got to write about what I was seeing with a pen + ink combination that makes me swoon (small things).
I came to realize, as I was writing and simultaneously taking moments to pause and watch the progression of the moon, that we are here on this planet to revel in the glory of all things; the big and the small.
Here's my advice this week:
When you have a moment, stop.
Take a deep breath (or 4).
Smell the air.
Close your eyes and hear the space around you.
Open your eyes and note the contrast, the colors and whatever your eyes connect to or pick up on.
Pay attention to how all of this makes you feel.
Life is meant to be lived. One small moment at a time. Small moments are the connectors of the story that link one big moment to another. Pay careful attention to these connectors - they are just as important (if not more so) in the overall value and joy of living.