That was the moment I was born. That moment. There was a moment present, and in that moment I came into this world. And that specific moment would never have occurred had there not been the many, many moments in the life of each of my parents that led them to meet each other. And each of those moments after and the decisions they made and paths they took. And the many more moments of their parents before them. And those before them. And so on…This thought has been with me for years. I find it wonderfully overwhelming. And it is true for each of us. Wow! That’s the expression that fits best for me. It has shaped me over the years and helped me practice mindfulness and being fully awake and present in the moment. It gives opportunity to make me conscious of every soul I encounter. Of the moments of a day. Of intentions and decisions. It may seem my mind is always buzzing with thoughts of what I should do in each moment. But more often it is calm and still when I get it right. When I am fully present, all the clutter and distractions aren’t there. And I find I’m more focused in that moment because I’m fully engaged. And I’ve learned a lot can happen in those moments that shape the path of moments beyond.
I have many “altars” around my living space – places that hold meaning and give a sacred energy to me. On my nightstand by my bed is a small wooden box in which I keep two small bottles. They are the bottles for each of the pregnancy tests used to find out we were expecting my son and my daughter. Yes, I’ve kept those. They represent the overwhelming love and excitement I felt at the news of each of those moments. My children know I’ve kept this box all these years because they’ve heard the story many times of how excited I was to know they would be entering my life. I realize now I shaped the way they thought of themselves as they grew up because they knew they were loved. That reality is the same reason I find it important to be near my granddaughter. I want her to know love from me and let that love shape who she is and becomes.
Sometimes it must seem my life is so blessed and things are always wonderful. That would be wonderful, but it is not my reality. Yes, I am the positive and smiling person many know me to be, but that is the result of how I have let my life be shaped by the circumstances I’ve encountered. I’ve known love and I’ve known loss. I’ve known suffering and want. I’ve had a couple moments when I was near letting go of this life, some by choice and some by chance. Somehow, because of how my life has been shaped, I’ve been fortunate to come back to a place of love. And now I’ve committed my life to love and connection, to share that message, and be that message – that we, each of us, is loved.
I’ve met and continue to meet so many of the wonderful people with whom I share this dance of life. One was a woman who crossed over a few years ago in her nineties. When she was born in a hospital in Poland in the winter, her mother, a young girl, put her outside on the window sill of the hospital room because she thought she could not raise her. The nurses found her and rescued her, and she grew up, moved to America, and became the matriarch of a large extended family raised in love. Another is a new friend, a young man who was born in a prison because his mother was incarcerated for her drug use. And he’s grateful he was born in prison because he realizes he may not have been born if his mother would have been on the streets using drugs again. These two. Their mothers shaped their lives in a moment. And by some grace they carried on and began to let their lives be shaped for good in how they dealt with the moments of their own journeys.
Today as I turn sixty-one, I carry this intention of love and connection forward. And I pray I may be present in each moment, with each soul, being love.