Our daughter is traveling abroad on a Gap Year.
My hubby and I were so excited when she called to catch up over video the other day!
We sat side by side on the couch as close as we could to get both our faces in the screen and be able to see hers.
Our girl was walking along the streets of Stockholm, Sweden where she’d traveled with friends for the weekend on a cheap flight from Barcelona. She was talking about remembering how much she loved the cold and that she had to buy a knit cat and fuzzy jacket to stay warm. She kept turning the screen so we could see the cafes and shops that she was passing.
As she talked, I delighted at how cute she looked in her new hat and found myself, rather than listening to what she was saying, rather than being present to her experience, trying to capture that moment with her on the phone by taking a screenshot of her. I kept fumbling with the buttons, checking the screen, and imagining the someday we’d look back at that photo and remember the moment we sat on the couch and had a video call with our girl while she walked the streets of Stockholm.
You could have been right there, right then in that moment, listening to everything your daughter was saying and sharing!
It reminded me of how often I do this.
Rather than being in a moment, I try to capture and hold onto the moment.
Am I the only one who does this? Do you?
Anyway, that moment reminded me of a piece I’d written about this exact subject a couple of years ago for Thrive Global.
I’m sharing it here, so if you’re like me, trying to capture the moment, rather than truly experiencing the moment, I hope this will resonate.
Every day on the way to the kid’s school we used to pass a big, red barn. Boy, did I love the sight of that barn. Every morning as we drove up the hill, with the blue sky and fluffy clouds in the background, I’d think, “Man I have got to get a photo of that barn.” But we were always running late, or my phone was too full, and I just never did. And then one day, on the way to school, a swarm of workers surrounded the barn, and by the next morning, the barn was gone. Gone.
Next year my son will be gone — gone off to college. And two years after that, my daughter will follow suit. The other day my son and our dog, Ed were curled up on the couch — it was a magical moment — “Please let me take a picture,” I asked, and surprisingly he said OK. But once again the screen on my phone was black with the message Cannot Take Photo…
So for the past week, I’ve made a concerted effort to “de-clutter” all the photos on my phone and computer. My phone is so full, it can’t take new photos or even receive voicemail. And my computer, well let’s just say that if my computer wore pants, it would be up several sizes. Both my phone and my computer are backed up; so all I really need to do is delete the 5,147 photos on my phone and the 31,498 photos on my computer. But I worry. What if the backup on the external hard-drive in the fireproof box didn’t really back up all those photos? And what if the second backup external hard-drive in the other fireproof box didn’t work? And what if all those backup discs with the photos melt in some unexpected New Hampshire heatwave?
It would be a disaster.
Those photos are of my kids. My kids in Florida visiting my parents. My kids blowing out their birthday candles. My kids picking apples and petting goats, and studying the dinosaurs at the science museum and swinging on the swings at the park and running down soccer fields and canoeing on lakes and playing dress-up with our much-missed English Mastiff, Meg.
Those photos are our life.
Occasionally my 16-year-old daughter shows me a photo she’s posted on Snapchat. “That’s so cute,” I say. “Save it. Save it.” But she usually just shrugs and casually says, “It’s gone.” Gone. An adorable photo. A precious moment in time. A special memory. Gone. Just like that.
I think of those monks who travel with the Dalai Lama. The monks who spend days bent on their hands and knees creating a beautiful, intricate mandala out of sand. And when the Dalai Lama finally arrives to see their work, he gazes upon their creation and with one sweep of his arm, wipes the entire thing away. God, almighty, I hope someone at least snapped a photo.
I worry that I didn’t take enough photos of my kids when they were little. Now at 16 and 18 they hardly ever let me take their photos and my whole body aches when I think of all those lost moments I failed to capture. I’ll never get them back again.
And then it hits me…
Read the rest over here – Thrive Global
So here we are.
September has arrived.
Classroom bells are ringing.
Summer is in the rearview mirror.
Many college-aged kids have flown the nest.
And how does all of this leave you feeling?
The other day I was sitting out in the backyard Adirondack chair, catching up on the phone with a friend.
She brought up a difficulty she was having.
“I feel angry and upset,” she had said. “But I know I should be feeling fortunate and grateful.”
I sat for a moment and watched the clouds slowly drifting by.
When I responded, the words came from my mouth, but they didn’t feel like they’d really come from me.
“What if you just allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling?” I asked.
We were both quiet for a few moments.
“Feel what I’m feeling?“ she tentatively asked.
“Yeah,” I said with growing confidence, “Give yourself permission to feel exactly what you’re feeling, rather than what you think you should be feeling.”
I could feel a charge through the phone line as we both absorbed this concept.
In the following days, my friend would report how liberating it felt to truly allow herself to feel the actual, real feelings that emerged within her.
I too put this new method into practice.
I had the perfect opportunity, as suitcases were pulled down from the attic, and our girl prepared to leave for her Gap Year travels.
At first, I was doing exactly what my friend had done. Feeling one way, but dismissing those feelings for the feelings I thought I should be feeling.
When I thought of the airport departure, when I thought of the empty bedroom and breakfast table, I felt sad. But I told myself I should be feeling excited for my daughter. I should be feeling grateful that she has this amazing opportunity.
But I caught myself and gave myself permission to feel what I was really feeling…sad.
And I noticed an amazing thing started to happen.
When I really allowed myself to feel that sadness, it seemed to move through me, as if it had been heard, acknowledged and didn’t need to take up so much residence within my body anymore.
And I noticed that beneath the sadness, there was excitement, gratitude, and joy.
Later, when the sadness reemerged, I welcomed it. I felt what I was feeling.
I welcomed Sadness and offered to pour her a cup of tea. To sit together and wrap ourselves in a blanket and chat about how much we were going to miss our girl.
And later, when she said goodbye, I was free to welcome whatever other emotions arrived at my door.
Please, come in Gratitude…
Let us sit together and discover what brings you here today.
And let’s imagine all the amazing tales our girl will have to share when she returns from her travels!
(The morning of her departure – airport goodbye kiss)
Plain and simple…
if you feel it, feel it.
Give yourself permission.
With love and blessings,
Ever since Tucker left for his Gap year in England, I’d been counting down the days till our visit. In anticipation, I either wrote down, or said the following Intention out loud every day:
“I am so delighted that our trip to England to visit Tucker was Magical and full of Ease and Joy.”
Keep in mind, if you have an upcoming event, whether it be travel, a party, a meeting, even a trip to the grocery store(!!) – Set your Intention ahead of time to ensure success!
Use the words, I am and create your intention as if the event has already happened.
For example: I am so happy that my meeting went so well. I am thrilled that our party was so joyous and easy to host. I am so excited that my daughter landed the part in the musical. You get the picture!
And remember, Writing down your intention makes it even more powerful!
I am so delighted to report that we returned home last week, and although sad to once again say goodbye to our boy (man!!), as you’ll see from the photos, our journey was everything (and more) that we intended – including a room upgrade with a Magical view of the Thames!
Make it a practice to Set your Intentions and allow your Magic to arrive!