THE GOLDEN MOMENT
Series: Recovering Desire
It was years ago, at a camp deep in the woods of northern Michigan, that my best buddy Dan and I stumbled upon a beautiful scene. It was at the end of path in the woods that opened up onto a pond and beaver dam. It was quiet and secluded with a peaceful flow of water. Picturesque and emblazoned on my mind for years as a place I wanted to return to. And years later I did, or attempted to at least. I was at the same camp, helping put on a men’s retreat and I had about an hour to kill before my next event I had to be at. So, I rushed to throw on my boots and head out into the sun-soaked day to find this same path. I was rushing because I didn’t have a lot of time and I didn’t remember how far back the beaver dam was. I could still see it in my mind and had an almost anxious feeling to get there quickly.
I was rushing along the trail when I was stopped in my tracks. Some small voice inside me seemed to say: “Wake up! Look around you!” As I came back to the present moment I realized I had been missing an incredibly beautiful scene unfolding in front of me. In my hurry I had not seen the blue sky contrasted with the deep greens of leaves and lush grasses. I had not noticed the smells of dead pine and damp earth as spring was starting to turn to summer. Now as I literally stopped walking, I could feel the warmth of the sun on my face as I turned towards the sunlight dappling through the leaves like some elaborate concert light show. It felt so good. I basked. I smiled. I was filled with beauty and goodness.
I started moving towards the beaver dam once again, but this time moving slower and staying present to the floating cotton seeds lazily bouncing by and the bees happily buzzing around. My whole mood had changed. Instead of rushed and distracted, I was present and happy. This feeling lasted until I got to the beaver dam. I could smell it before I got there. Something was wrong. As I stepped out of the trees into view of where the pond used to be I was swarmed with mosquitos. The smell of rot hit me full in the nose as I took in the scene of a mud-pit and the ruins of an old beaver dam. Apparently it had all dried up. I did not want to spend another moment here.
You may not love the woods and hiking like I do, but we all have golden moments we create in our heads that we make into expectations that drive our behaviors and reactions. We can easily miss what is right in front of us because we are too busy trying to recreate what happened before or what “should” happen.
What I learned from the beaver dam is that I want to be more present to what is right in front of me. It made me re-think the gifts that I have ignored as I have struggled to let go of opinions, assumptions and preconceived notions.
Life unfolds. We don’t know what is right around the next bend, so instead of trying to control it, let’s let it unfold and see what happens.
Train desire by holding on loosely to expectations of happiness