How many "Defining Moments" have you had?
Have I made you stop? Are you pausing, trying to think of the 'big' one?
Let's be honest. Are you struggling to think of one that impresses you?
If you are, take heart. We tend to think of defining moments as vocational, life-changing, and BIG. They are when we realised we were in love, or discovered we could sing, or found our true purpose in life. In our minds, they are singular moments that define who we are today and how we see the world.
And they are elusive, and don't happen every day, never mind every year. So we glide on in cruise mode, waiting for the next moment to 'happen', and feeling somehow cheated that this feeling is so damned hard to grab and live with.
But defining moments don't need to be. They can occur every single day, if we want.
Try this. Look up from your tablet or desk. If you can't see outside, go there. Stand and count as many forms of life as you can. Flowers, grass, weeds, animals, humans. Now think about the perfection of nature. Every single stick of nature is just doin' its thing. Think about the perfection needed to do this. Every cell has come together to make that flower red, or that leaf that yellowish green. The climate is perfect for them. That bird can fly. Nobody taught it how to do that.
Don't compare weeds. As Wayne Dwyer said, the only thing between a flower and a weed is a judgement. Sit with that idea. Own it.
Off you go...follow that line of thought for a bit, then rejoin me. If it's nighttime, look up at the stars, imagine the miracle of you being here at this moment in time, long after those stars died. You can still see them. Wow! Reflect on how incredibly amazing that is. The odds of just being born are mind-boggling. There is a one in 400 trillion chance in your being here, right now! You're fantastic!
Did you have a defining moment? An 'ah-ha' moment? An appreciation of all that is? Even if you've marvelled at this before, I bet you marvelled again. (If not, go out and do it again.)
The beauty of a consciously-made defining moment, is that it inevitably leads to the one emotion that Brené Brown - a research professor at The University of Houston who's spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, shame, and authenticity - says is the hardest one for most of us - joy. But what happens when we lean into joy, is that we experience gratitude.
Now, for most of us here, we understand the gratitude thing. We know that the more we think of something, the more we get of it. Think angry thoughts, get angry people popping up in our lives. Think grateful thoughts, and the more flow we get.
So here is my challenge to you. Go looking for those defining moments; don't wait for them to happen! Choose to look for them every day of your breathing life. If you feel a sudden rush of love for your child or partner, or a parent who has supported you and loved you, go with it! Lean into it. Brené points out that what we typically do, is we start to tragetise the feeling (my word). We start to imagine, 'Oh my god, what if something happened to him?" We begin to imagine the worst, when really, we should be feeling the best.
Vulnerability is one of the most difficult things to experience, and it is a sign of being blocked creatively as well. Let's say your pet dies. You put it on Facebook; "RIP Molly". Vulnerability is picking up the phone and saying to a friend, "My Molly has just passed. Can I ask that for 15 minutes to share this with you?" Brené points out that we use props to avoid being vulnerable, and social media is one of those. We don't need to connect with another human to spend 15 minutes of their time focussed on our emotions. We settle for 20 or so comments, "So sorry babe" and 50 likes, instead of reaching out, human to human.
Defining moments and being aware of them, looking for them, will increase your ability to experience joy and gratitude. Daily, not once in a while when it is a life changing event. Sure, discovering you are a writer and the moment that occurs is incredible! And it can be a guide for you, in knowing just how that joy felt. But did you lean into it fully? Did you start thinking of all the reasons why you would fail, instead of feeling intense gratitude for the flow and gift of writing words that touch others, or inspire them, or help them grow?
As I look out my window, I notice the wind tugging at palm leaves causing them to dance. I hear the jingle of the bells on my furry companions. I wonder at how I have managed to type this and it all makes perfect sense to me. And I am having a defining moment.
And that is the source of joy. The well of creativity. And the spectacular defining moment of creativity.
Go forth today! And sieze some defining moments!