It’s Saturday night. I’ve been running around doing all the things all day and now I’m sitting in the backseat of a Lyft driver’s car with my ten year old son. We’re on our way to his first big concert, tickets in hand for Lower Level seats for the Maroon 5 show at the Golden One Center. My son has told the driver he’s heading to his first big concert and the driver is now recounting his own first experience. He’s grinning and laughing and telling the story with joy and detail, his voice inflecting, hands gesturing, body relaxed.
And then it hits me.
Someday, this is the story that my son will tell about his first concert. This moment, right now, the story of the two of us in the backseat on the way to this concert. This is part of a core memory moment.
Someday he’ll tell someone how his mom took him on a mom-and-son date as a gift for his tenth birthday and how he was equal parts awed and overwhelmed by it all. He’ll tell about how he couldn’t see over the people in front of him who wouldn’t sit down, and so the two of us stood and danced and sang along, also. He’ll tell them about the glittery dress worn by the opening act, how amazing the drummer was, how he knew almost all of the songs and was captivated by the lights. He’ll tell how mom let him have a chocolate milkshake, and fries, and a pretzel, and how his very favorite song of theirs was the closing song. He’ll probably even tell about how difficult it was to get a ride home and how we probably should have just walked.
THIS IS A MOMENT, MICHELLE. For fuck’s sake, stop watching it happen and be in it.
At some point near the end of the show, Adam Levine starts thanking the fans, and he says something to the effect of “we’ve been doing this for twenty years, and thank you for supporting us and blah, blah, blah.” I only heard part of the rest because, um. TWENTY YEARS?
Ten + ten = . . . TWENTY?
FUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKKKKK that’s a longish time.
But then again, my 20 year High School reunion is at the end of this month so, ya know, sounds right.
But for how much of those last 20 years have I been really, truly, present? Not so many really. So many years ruled by fear, manifested as anxiety and clothed as careful plans for “the future.” Such cautious, conservative, rule following behavior. So much telling and so little listening. So many years caught in a blur of doing for the purpose of doing and not for the purpose of being. So, so many years wishing that the moment I was in would be different than it was.
Fear of the unknown. Fear of not feeling worthy. Fear of not being wanted. Feel of being wrong. Fear of failure.
All of that fear does just one job, and that one job quite well — it takes away the gift of the moment.
I remember another moment I caught it, the moment. I was two-thirds of the way through a teacher training program, and the weight of the immense abundance in my life hit me like a freight train. It literally took me to my knees, and I sobbed in the shower for nearly an hour.
I’m not an expert, but I think that maybe joy is not supposed to work like that.
When the moments just build, unacknowledged, they come out sideways and unanticipated. When we keep climbing the stairs of our lives, going up, and up, and up, and never pausing to look around as see how far we’ve climbed, or who is with is, it won’t just take our breath away when we finally do.
It’ll knock the fucking wind out of us, lay us out on the beds we made and ask us to love them.
I’m grateful, for so many things really. I’m grateful for the practice of gratitude, and the practice of yoga. They teach me how to get back to right now when I’m out it. They show me how to use my breath, how to zoom out, ground down, and see. They teach me how to stop watching the moment, and just be in it.
The tell me, when the hands of fear reach for me, when I’m feeling choked with pressure, and plans, and expectations, when I’m so busy getting it right I forget to enjoy, it —
Take a breath in.
Let that breath out.
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