(The following is the letter I sent out snail-mail with the November/December Upcoming Events Schedule.)
A happy life is just a string of happy moments. But most people don’t allow the happy moment, because they are so busy trying to get a happy life. Abraham-Hicks
I saw them coming down the path towards us. It was a Sunday afternoon in the middle of May some years ago, and Cam and I were hiking the Lake Superior shoreline from Wetmore’s Landing to Little Presque Isle. My friend, Roslyn, had mentioned to me earlier in the day that she and her husband, Kevin, would be out in that area also. And there they were, still far away, but close enough to bellow out a friendly hello to my friendly friends. And so, that’s what I did. In my loudest, most enthusiastic voice, out into the quiet of a sunny Sunday afternoon, I raised my arms to the sky and I hollered the words, and I’m not sure where they came from, these particular words that I hollered. “This is the moment!” my voice boomed out over the Lake. “This is the moment!” my voice boomed out to these people, this couple who were coming into clearer focus. “This is the moment!” my voice boomed out to these people who, I now saw quite clearly, were not my friends, Roslyn and Kevin. And I looked over my left shoulder to the place that Cam had been walking just a second earlier, hoping that he would bail me out or at least accompany me as I faced this couple who were approaching at what seemed like a rapid speed, but, no, he had stepped back and his expression was stone-faced and he was pretending that he didn’t even know me, this person who bellows out to strangers on the trail. He was swallowing his laughter until these two people, who were also stone-faced, passed by and were well out of sight.
It was the words that I had hollered that made this story so funny for me. “This is the moment!” What did I mean by this?!? Where was the standard “hello” that I usually haul out when it is time to greet someone? I was telling my writing group about the encounter the next week, and it was Ward who was most tickled. “Helen, that’s profound! You got it in a nutshell! This is the moment, the only moment!” And for months afterward, every once in a while, the phone would ring and I would pick it up, and, a voice, as loud and booming as my own, would greet me, the male voice of my writing buddy. “This is the moment!” Ward would shout out and then he’d hang up.
This story came back to me this morning in yoga. It does that; it bubbles up, fresh and new and ready for me to share again. And I still think it is funny. And I still think it is profound. Because Ward is right, this is the moment, the only moment where our power is. And why not bellow it out for all to hear?!?
I’ve been telling people that I’m on fire with a writing project this autumn, and I am on fire, burning bright as I work with Stephanie at Globe Printing, laying out a book of essays and poems and short snippets that I have written about my mother and the cove in Maine, a book that also includes my mother’s creative efforts, her art and her nature observations and her recipes. And although it is easy to become engrossed in the moment, fully present, when working on such a project, there are times when I want to spurt ahead to the finish line when the book is printed and bound and ready to read. But then I stop myself – why would I want to skip one precious part of this creative effort? Why would I want to skip one moment of this precious life? And besides, guess what awaits at the line that we think is the finish? Another beginning. Another moment.
And so, let’s raise our arms to the sky and shout out, “This is the moment!” And then let’s live these moments in a way that feels good to us, that feels great to us. Joy Center is a safe place to shout out these words, a welcoming place to embody these moments, a place where the offerings are as rich and varied and filled with possibilities as we are.