At a certain point, we have to decide whether we intend to be available for the fleeting moments when life bring us fulfillment and joy.
On what could have been a typical Sunday, I sat down for a moment on our big two-person recliner in the living room. The morning sun was peering through our southern windows, gracing the Minnesota winter with its much needed light.
A few minutes later, Amy joined me in the chair with a book to do some reading and enjoy the sunshine. Soon after, our little pup Rocky wandered over to us and put his paws up on the couch asking to be lifted up to join the party.
I gave him the assist he requested and after a few quick passes back and forth to make sure the perimeter was secure, he nestled down and stretched out for a nap.
It was in that moment that everything was right in the world. I felt an overwhelming sense of joy, fulfilment and happiness. Right then and there, nothing else seemed to matter but soaking up that moment.
It may have only lasted a short while, but such simple joy was a firm reminder of why we’ve chosen this path.
These days there are millions of ways I could have been otherwise occupied. Had I been downstairs on the computer, browsing Facebook on my phone, checking my blog’s traffic stats, or any one of a gajillion possible things, that moment wouldn’t have come to be. If I simply hadn’t taken the time to open the blinds that morning to appreciate the sunlight, it might have passed like any other.
Amy and I sitting down together has always been great on its own, but the icing on the cake was a sleepy puppy that was ready for cuddling instead of using my hand as a teething chew toy. It felt like the stars aligned that morning and everything fell into a perfection of stillness.
The thing is, it’s really, really hard to manufacture these moments in life. I’ve tried, as I’m sure we all have, to create these meaningful moments we’re supposed to be having with our families, friends, and our kids. But when they’re overly forced or manufactured, it doesn’t feel quite right–like an intricately styled Instagram photo (does anyone really live like that? Seriously?).
Whatever these moments may be for you, they’re really hard to create–as hard as we try, the puppy might start gnawing on my shirt and the pot on the stove may start to boil over requiring our attention. No matter how much we declutter our household and our lives, these things are bound to happen.
But we can’t let that stop us from being willing to show up.
While we can’t necessarily create these moments, we can make ourselves available for them.
We can make conscious choices to set aside ten minutes per day just to sit and see what happens. Instead of shrinking inward with our attention focused one foot from our face, we can sit down, observe the world with our bodies, hearts, and minds open to what possibilities may come.
Even if it’s just ten minutes per day, it can make all the difference.
In many cases, nothing may happen at all. The dog may ignore you, opting to chew on the table leg in the kitchen for a while. The clouds may block the sun from the window. The street repaving crew might drown out the chirping birds, and that’s okay.
Let go of what you expect to happen with this time as without expectation, there can be no disappointment. It’s a beautiful thing.
It is these moments we miss when instead we are glued to a smartphone, a tablet, or a computer screen. Each small notification, quick email, and social media check acts expanding foam, filling all the empty spaces in our lives. These fleeting moments cannot happen if we don’t allow them the space to exist.
Does it mean everything is perfect? Absolutely not. The kitchen is still a mess from breakfast, we haven’t even started figuring out our taxes yet, I think I’m coming down with a cold, and the garage door opener seems to be on strike at the moment (it makes noise, but the door doesn’t move?).
But hours spent on our smartphones won’t change any of those things either.
So these are the moments we’re missing–these intangible moments that seem to come and go so quickly in our lives. It might be as simple as a funny glance shared between strangers while waiting in the grocery checkout line. Noticing the need and helping someone by grabbing the can of soup on the highest shelf that they can’t quite reach.
These are the moments that our spirits so desperately need, connection to other beings on their journeys through this world.
Let’s do what we can to show up, be present, and allow these passing moments into our lives.