We took our five year old twin boys to Disney two weeks ago and on the our third boat ride through It’s A Small World, I had an epiphany. Okay, here, I’ll set the scene for you:
You know the ride, right? Harmonic child voices sing…La La La La LA La La (until you’re la-la-lulled into forgetting you just stood in line for forty-five minutes) while the tiny boat glides through crystal clear water; carrying you from one magical scene of moving, dancing, twirling, hang-gliding animatronic children and animals from foriegn lands to another. By the third turn, you really forget you’re in Orlando.
Er. Full Stop.
By the third turn you really should have forgotten you’re in Orlando.
While all this magical stuff was happening around me and my boys were oooing and aaaaahing over all the magical stuff, here’s what was going through my mind:
“Wow, this is a lot of stuff to keep dusted.”
“I wonder what the electric bill runs for this ride alone? Guess I shouldn’t complain about my hubby’s Christmas light obsession.”
“Oh…there’s an emergency exit! It might be important that I noticed that if we get stuck in here or if terrorists hit Disney or…what if there really will be a zombie apocolypse?”
So, the epiphany hit me around the North American room. This ride was a miniturized version of my life! I am going through my days like each of those amazing rooms, not really paying attention to the experience but instead worrying about the dust.
And the bad part is, I know better. I’ve read all the zen books, the live-in-the-moment books, the breathe-and-shut-up-your-monkey-mind books. But in all those hours of pouring over books, I missed the whole point somehow. (I’m giggling to myself right now) The point is just to be. Just to experience it…this mysterious thing called life. Just to enjoy the small, make-believe drummers without wondering if one of those sticks could possibly fly loose and poke my child’s eye out.
And I suddenly understood (not with my head but with my heart) what this wize woman means when she says, “My life is my practice.”
And so, I have been practicing. It’s tricky though. I have to catch myself. There are more and more moments when I truly am there, fully present in my own life. Moments when I’m watching my five year old struggle to read a new word and I’m not thinking about the fact I forgot to let the dog out; moments when we’re playing Go Fish as a family and I fight to keep my attention on the smiles and giggles instead of the pile of dishes from dinner.
Will the stuggle to stay present get easier? I’ll have to let you know. But I can tell you one thing…
Life is much less stressful when you don’t dwell on the dust!