It was a dark and stormy night...
which turned in to a hot and humid day...
which turned into a dark and stormy evening...
which led to dancing in the rain.
It's a moment I don't want to forget: singing and dancing on the sidewalk with my 3 children, getting soaked to the skin in a summer downpour. It was extraordinary, because it reminded me of the power of being in the moment.
It was a typical day of ups and downs, including a movie and lunch and back-to-school shopping and chasing the youngest through the shoe store while he ignored my pleas to stopforonefreakinminute so I could find sneakers for his brother (he didn’t, so I couldn’t) and then my tantrum in the car as I drove home and tears from the little guy and reconciliation and (thankfully) a moment of peace.
There were many moments that day, and I didn't particularly like several of them. They say to enjoy every minute, your children's childhoods go so fast...yes, and sometimes they don't go fast enough. Are you with me?
And then, the rain came. My daughter invited me to join her in a rain dance. There were a dozen practical reasons not to. Then the little voice in my head whispered, "Do it.”
So I did.
Here’s where I call on every cliche about bad moods washed away. I don't need to craft some new turn of phrase, you know exactly what I was feeling.
In that moment, even as I was every inch a weary mom at the end of her 3rd day flying solo, I felt joy. Joy that I didn't deserve to feel after my cranky outburst a few hours earlier. Joy that obliterated the frustrations and hurts of earlier in the day. Joy that lingered long after we'd gone inside and dried off and put on pajamas and started the laundry.
The memory of that moment sustained me through dinnertime & cleanup, children bickering, popcorn all over the living room floor, and one last bedtime before Daddy returned from his trip.
That's part of the power of being in the moment...when the moment is an extraordinarily joyful one, we can allow it to spill forward into the moments that follow.
No moments are mundane, they're all extraordinary. We let our awareness drift in and out of them. They're not all equally intense, and that’s a good thing - we couldn't handle 100% joy 100% of the time. But we can have 100% joy in a moment-sized amount, an amount that won’t completely fry our emotional circuits.
In the same way, we can’t handle 100% sadness 100% of the time, but we can handle bursts of it. We can be present for extraordinary pain, because it won’t last forever. When the intensely dark time has passed, we can move into a new moment. A moment that might feel by comparison blissfully mundane, or might feel extraordinarily joyful. We can allow ourselves to have that moment, and be fully present for whatever is contained therein.
Bring your awareness to this moment. Simply be present for it, allow yourself to have it. And when the moment has passed, allow yourself to have the next one. And the one after that, and the one after that…
And notice what happens.