I live a mile away from the Golden Gate bridge. I frequently head over to the marina and plop down on a bench marveling at the beauty of San Francisco. The tourist arrive one by one, many who have saved their whole lives for a trip to San Francisco. They see the bridge, quickly gather for a selfie, take several photos with big smiles, inspect their photo, often post them on the spot for social media, and then leave.…like immediately leave as if they can only see through the eye of their smart phone.
Basically they saved their money to be in a photo with a bridge, but they didn’t really SEE the bridge; r the beautiful way the waves change direction in the bay, or how the wind surfers maneuver around the kayaks, or how the fog creeps in like a river in the sky.
This is the way we live our lives. We run around with goals, grab our photos, check it off our list, and then move on. It’s exhausting but we have adapted to this lifestyle until something that was not part of our plan surfaces.
We arrive for our photo only to find that fog has completely covered the bridge. It happens both realistically and metaphorically with an illness, a special needs child, or a financial loss.
The mastery falls in not only loving the photo for what it is, but trusting the perfection of the unfolding. And no matter what form it presents itself, allow it into your soul with great appreciation.
I began writing this blog before my trip to Taiwan with my daughter. An unexpected typhoon drowned our vacation and forced us to alter our plans. As we wallowed around in our giant ponchos, broken umbrellas, and perpetually soaked feet, we found things to love. There were more conversations, more museum time (I learned way more about calligraphy than I ever thought I would want to know), and long meals over tea and endless dumplings.
A break in the rain allowed us to hike the Taroko Gorge. One of my daughter’s bucket list monuments was the Shrine, but although our hiking day surrendered to blue skies, the road to the Shrine was washed out and closed. A worker saw our disappointment and whispered a way for us to get there. Ignoring signs and warnings, each step closer taking our breath away and remarkably we had the entire area to ourselves. It was worth every drop of rain to experience that serenity.
The jaw dropped, the photos began, the selfies happened with huge sincere smiles, and after I said to my daughter, “Now we will sit and simply drink in the beauty.” We did until hunger crept in and we remembered the mango ice-cream back at the visitor center. Taking in the experience doesn’t need to be timed, but it is so much more rewarding having felt the moment in a state of appreciation.
Pause more often. Don’t just reach your destination, melt into the moment and plant yourself in the memory.