I’ve been trying to #RetrainMyBrain to focus on now. Focus on this moment. I try to make every moment of my life count (whatever that means) and am perpetually checking in, validating whether I did enough in each moment. Did I successfully seize the day?
I’m programmed with the “problem solver / make it better” / find the best of everything” gene, but sometimes life serves up the very best and I freeze. Beyond “this is as good as it gets” and closer to “THIS IS HEAVEN – IN REAL LIFE!” It’s a flavor I can’t describe, but can scarcely comprehend what it tastes like when your dreams come true.
On our first morning in Maui, we sat on the wraparound lanai of our 2 bedroom condo and I stared out at the view mother nature painted for me. Six palm trees, poetically beautiful and beyond them, a golden sand beach; a volcano on one side and a mountain dotted with wind turbines on the other side. I could see two other islands across the blue ocean. When the sun hit the mountain, I could find every color in those browns – bright reds, almost florescent oranges, yellows, greens of 20 different shades. When the clouds cast a shadow on the mountain, shapes emerged, like dancing angels over the slopes.
While every photo conveys “iconic paradise” (mother nature is perfectly styled for a 24/7 photoshoot) no photo or video can convey the smell of the plumerias adorning the shrubbery. No still image can convey what the sand felt like on my feet; smoother than cornstarch baby powder and when the sun touches it, gold glitter emerges.
“This is the softest sand I have ever felt,” I declare. I am convinced and certain. I don’t ever recall such silkiness underfoot on a beach. I am on a coast dotted in volcanic rock, forming secret inlets and tide pools, each one its own microcosm. There are over 1,000 species of fish in the water 50 feet from me and turtles pop their heads up periodically to take 7 breaths and then disappear for another 20 minutes.
I watch my 14-year-old, prescription goggles on, face deep in the water, my husband jumping waves with my six-year-old, who is clinging on for dear life and giggling in sweet delight. My heart doesn’t believe what my eyes are seeing.
I am looking at my life from above as if I am a ghost; I cannot believe I get this: a man who adores me ferociously and consistently, a son who is kind, brilliant, grateful and naturally curious about everything. And my girl, a caricature of from a storybook, complete with pigtails and tutu, one you can build a sit-com around. She’s six and doles out life lessons by living every day as her best day ever. I remember trying to explain to her at one point, “They can’t all be the ‘best day ever.’ There is only one best. That’s what makes it best by definition.”
Today I realize I was wrong. Whatever day Today is – whenever now occurs is the time to soak up all the goodness of a moment, as if I am an unquenchable sponge never able to be too full of joy. I’m overwhelmed with the beauty of the world in front of me, the postcard coming alive around me like a hazy dream. But I know it’s real because I feel the warm wind caresses my shoulders and hear the ocean delivering its morning sermon and smell of the fruit punch of flowers and taste the salt on the corners of my lips. I’m flooded with the same hormone as being in love…and I am high on life. Tears flow slowly from my eyes, leaving them wet, blurring life because it’s too sharp, too vivid. I can’t believe I’m in this life. I hope the gratitude oozing from my pores is payment enough.
I try hard to memorize it; all my senses on high alert. I want to come back to this moment forever. This is my happy place. My best day ever.