They move in unison to a rhythm all their own. Other people can hear the music too, but they seem locked in their own song. There is a twinkle in their eyes, perhaps a reflection of shared experiences that we will never know. When I watch my mom and dad dance, time stands still for me. They will dance whenever there is an opportunity, and for that I am thankful.
Their style is a beautiful give and take that is much like the way they live their lives. Having fun together. Dad steady. Mom trusting. Supporting each other. And EVERY TIME it has the same effect on me. I forget whatever it was I was worried about. I give no thought as to what I have to do next. Details of the room fade away and the light around them seems to magnify itself. It is glorious. Only the end of the song and my father’s familiar ‘dip’ as the music fades start time moving again.
The closer I get to turning 50 the more I believe that these moments that stop time are what life is really about. Those moments when we are in complete connection with something else. I felt that way the first time I looked at my daughter. I feel that way when I climb to the top of a mountain and take in the view. I feel that way when I stare into a campfire. Sometimes I feel that way when I write.
Life is so busy. Weeks pass in a blur and to-do lists get longer and longer. How beautiful and rare it is to find those moments that make time stand still. I told a friend recently that I felt like my day was one of those endless-all-you-can-eat bowls of spaghetti… I was just moving around a bunch of noodles but the bowl never seemed to get empty! In fact, most of the time I feel like time is slipping away to quickly. I often joke that my brain is like all of the open tabs on my laptop but in those moments of pure awe everything gets quiet and what is important becomes crystal clear.
It’s not all just in my head, either. Researchers have proven that a sense of awe, more so than happiness or a neutral state, reduces stress, boosts creativity, improves health and leads to more overall satisfaction. Jennifer Aaker, a marketing professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business said, ”Awe influences our perception of time by strengthening our focus on the present moment.” Did you read that mom? Oh, if I had a dollar for every time my mother told me to stay in the present moment!
Interestingly enough, the definition of awe is “an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear or respect produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like” MMM I didn’t expect the word fear to be in there. Still, I don’t know about you, but I think we could all use a few more ‘awe-filled’ moments.
As I go from dreaming about what to put on my list of 50 places I plan to visit the year I turn 50, to actually planning the trips, I wonder which of those might provide one of those moments when time stands still.