Golden moments. I’ve written about them before. Experiences so wonderful they shine just a little bit brighter than the other moments making up our everyday lives. Encounters so meaningful they capture our attention as the sunlight falls upon them at just the right angle, and we suddenly notice a speck of glitter out of the corner of our eye.
And so we turn and look. And we marvel. And we feel grateful.
And then we wonder.
How do I make this last? How do I take this moment with me? How do I feel this good, all the time?
Maybe I should write this moment down on a piece of paper? Fold it up and carry it around in my pocket? Slip my hand in to run my fingers along its smoothness every time I feel the need to confirm that kind of happiness was once really mine?
Or perhaps I should take a picture of it? Make it the wallpaper on my smart phone so I am reminded of it every time I get a text message?
Do I blog about it? Share my moment with my readers, look back on the post myself when I am having a low moment, and need to connect with the things that make me smile?
Two weeks ago today I was smack dab in the middle of not just a golden moment, but a golden week: my Wild Women Expeditions canoe camping trip to the North Channel of Lake Huron. Five glorious days of paddling, laughing, hiking, eating, sharing, swimming, and sunbathing on rocks warmed by the hot afternoon sun with a group of inspiring, amazing women who passed quickly from strangers to friends.
For me, perhaps the most memorable of the golden moments that made up this trip was the morning I awoke to one of my favourite of nature’s symphonies. The sound of waves rolling up on the beach not more than 50 feet from the front door of mine and my fellow paddler B’s tent, and raindrops falling upon us from the tree above it.
As I lay there emerging from one of the best sleeps I’d had in weeks, I reflected upon how much I used to revel in waking up to this symphony as a kid. On camping trips with my family. Or during my favourite weeks of each year — the days I spent at the sleepover camp I went to every summer from the ages of seven to sixteen.
I love this.
I should do more of it.
It was a theme that wove itself tightly among the string of golden moments that made up my trip.
Doing more of what I love.
So simple and yet, when I thought about it during the trip and in the days since, I realized that living this truth has been a central challenge of the past couple of years of my life.
As so many of the things I once thought I loved, or, at least, had at some point decided to pursue with the passion of someone who really did love them, became less and less satisfying to me.
As I confronted the fact that some of the things I really did love, but had chosen to distance myself from due to life circumstances, had suddenly become absences I could no longer tolerate.
As I went through the difficult process of letting go of someone that I had once loved very deeply in order to give each of us the space to figure out how to love ourselves again.
For me, it would seem doing more of what I love required first figuring out again what exactly it was that I did love.If you’ve been reading my blog regularly then you have, in a way, been accompanying me on this journey.And maybe you’ve realized all along that this is what I’ve been doing.Figuring out what I love.
Or at least, not in those exact words.
I had thought I was just figuring out how to navigate change.
Trying to find happiness (or, at the very least, not get stuck knee deep in melancholy) as I went from being the girl who’d accomplished things like buying a house, getting married and making more money than I knew what to do with all before the age of 30, to the woman who was living alone for the first time in my life, newly single, and feeling increasingly mismatched with the career path I had chosen at the age of 31.
This trip allowed me to realize that finding happiness means doing what you love.
Successfully navigating change means letting go of what you can no longer love, and finding new love to replace that loss.
Even if that means letting go of some parts of yourself. And learning to love some other parts too long ignored, or never cultivated.
I will no doubt look back upon this blog post in future moments of struggle. And the photo of mine and my fellow paddlers’ feet above is, in fact, the current wallpaper on my iPhone.
But what this trip taught me about golden moments is that the best way to make them last, to take them with you and feel that good all the time, is to simply keep doing what you love. To let one golden moment lead into the next until your whole life is filled with specks of glitter.
Does this mean I have to start going on more canoe trips? Well, I hope so 🙂
But it also means that I need to start keeping tabs on whether or not I am doing what I love.
As I figure out my next career move.
As I open myself up to sharing my life with someone new.
As I awake each morning to the sweet symphony of my own breath and ask myself: what are my intentions for this day?