You can find energizing moments in each aspect of your life, but to do so you must learn how to catch them . . .
She woke me with smooth, small hands and a grin a mile wide. “It’s snow day!” she squealed. The one day a year it snows in San Diego, or, more precisely, has snow blown on a 50-yard patch of grass at the preschool down the street.
I’d had a rough night sleep fighting off congestion and a bit of me wished there were snooze buttons on preschoolers.
Persistence trumps snoozing, though, and in moments she’d pulled me out of bed to get her ready.
- Warm clothes. Check.
- Boots. Check.
- Mittens. Check.
- Jacket. Check.
- Me making her take off the jacket and mittens to eat breakfast. Her crying. Me going to hide with coffee in the kitchen while it blows over. Check. Check. Check.
Since she’s the youngest of 4 daughters to attend the same preschool, I’ve done this every year for 7 years. One child after the other. It would be easy to go on autopilot with it. To stand off to the side and watch, since I’ve been pelted with snowballs and made teeny-tiny snowmen with my girls before, a few times each.
It would be easy to let a moment like that go. To be thinking of what’s next on the agenda, what I needed to write, that client to call, packing for an upcoming trip.
You’ve been there, too. Face to face with those little moments. Those choosing moments.
Moments we interact with someone in the checkout line, or comb our kids’ hair, or pet the cat, or see a neighbor as we walk to the mailbox. Moments where life and love and meaning happen. When we get to choose if we’ll let it.
Brene Brown, a motivational speaker and author, describes what happens when we miss these moments:
Joy comes to us in moments—ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.
So how do we catch moments like these. . . keep them from pouring like water through our memories?
- Show up. We notice what’s happening, who’s there, the significance of the moment. When the to-do list or conversation-turned-sour from yesterday wiggles its way into our minds, we thank it for the reminder and tell it to hold on, something else is important right now.
- Describe. What does the moment look like? Smell like? Taste like? Sound like? Pick a word for each sense to describe it, and when the to-do list comes back to bug us, we can recite our list of what’s happening NOW right back at it.
- Put away the camera. At one point in the morning, I wanted to get a video of my daughter stomping on the snowman she’d made. I actually asked her to remake it after she did it because I couldn’t get the camera app open on my phone in time. If you’re wondering how to kill a moment instead of catch it? That’s it. When it happened to me, I turned off my phone and decided to take pictures with my experiences instead. Every once in a while we can forgo the 2-dimensional images for ones embossed on our hearts.
Can we do this every moment of every day? Maybe. The thought of that may seem exhausting. But then again, maybe catching these moments is, as Buckingham says above, how we find more energy for what we value.
What do you think? How do you catch life’s moments?