Being in the Moment

Traveling is a lot like dancing. We have to be in the moment to fully appreciate the adventure. If our mind is not focused on what is immediately happening, we miss out on what is right in front of us. We may misinterpret what others are saying or doing; take a wrong turn and get lost; or become disappointed because we envisioned something other than what is actually in our sight.


Expectations often create false concepts or perceptions. I recently watched a woman bitterly berate an airline ticket counter clerk because she was asked to check her luggage in rather than carry it on the plane. She spent 45 minutes arguing about the matter while other passengers waited behind her watching her behavior. Those of us witnessing the scene knew what the inevitable result would be: the suitcase would be checked in or she would not be on the plane home. Rather than be in the present moment and readjust her expectations, this woman railed against what she determined was a policy expressly made to persecute only her. The rest of us quickly changed our thoughts of carrying on our own luggage and the lines resumed a quicker pace.


When we dance, we also must be fully in the moment. Where exactly does that leg need to be in order to execute the jump or turn or lift? If we find ourselves in a slightly different position, we must be aware of the adjustment that is needed and we must take it in order to perform the movement. Thus, if we are thinking about a past or future appointment or event rather than what is happening immediately in the class, we lose out on the experience.


Being in the moment helps us to more deeply experience traveling. For example, I knew that the Dead Sea would support my weight. However, I hadn’t realized that if I put my head under the water that the salt in the Dead Sea would sting and burn my eyes. In order to prevent that, I found that I had to exert more effort physically than I had expected. I had imagined the sea would completely support me effortlessly. By paying more attention to how I needed to maneuver to keep my head out of the water, I experienced something unexpected and delightful. I began to roll in the water in a way that I had never done before.


Traveling and dancing. Isn’t that really what we are doing each day as we go about our lives? We are always moving in space somehow whether we are in a foreign place or just going about our everyday routines. As we move down a busy street, we are adjusting and dancing with the others that are in our path. If we pay attention and are in the moment, we notice and can appreciate the richness of life. It is a richness that comes from catching the cues that we don’t expect.


© 2011 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.