Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Perfect Moment Monday: the Gift

On the last Monday of each month, my lovely friend Lavender Luz at Write Mind Open Heart sponsors Perfect Moment Monday, a blog hop/writing prompt that offers an opportunity to notice and reflect on the "perfect moments" in our lives, rather than create them.  These moments can be ordinary, momentous, or somewhere in between.  Everyone is welcome to join.  


When I lived in California, once every few months I'd travel from LA to San Francisco to see friends and escape the sprawl for a while.  I often did the drive at night, to avoid traffic, and I have vivid memories of driving through the San Joaquin Valley feeling a little like I was hurtling through limbo, nothing but vast dark emptiness and flat farmland for miles in every direction.

One of those nights, when I was speeding through the darkness, something changed -- maybe I was driving in a new lane, or I'd noticed a new billboard ... who knows -- and I caught a glimpse of the sky.  I was stunned.  So stunned that I had to pull over, opening the sun roof of my little blue ford Escort.  Peter Gabriel was blasting, the cold air was rushing in.  I got out, despite the trucks thundering past, and gaped in wonder.  There must have been thousands, and thousands, of stars.  I stood there weeping at the side of the freeway, grateful beyond words that I'd been given such an unspeakably beautiful gift, an epiphany of belonging, a feeling of being held by the Universe, of being one of the stars.

photo credit: Jhenline, wikimedia commons
The other night, as I was driving back home from a meeting through a rural area of the county, something about the unfamiliar light from my husband's dashboard and the cold dark around me took me back to that night in the empty darkness between LA and San Francisco.  It wasn't about the stars, because we don't see nearly as many stars in NJ.  But really, neither was that moment in California.  It was, instead, about knowing who I was, and feeling I belonged.  I'd spent the night with intelligent, kind, thoughtful, generous women, and was thinking about them, thinking about how amazing they all are, and how lucky I'd been to be there with them.  And there in the dark, I had this thought: "this is who I am when I am my best self: a clever, kind, thoughtful, warm, funny, generous, loved and loveable person, who belongs with these other women."

I had to catch my breath; it was too beautiful for words.

If only we could all feel like this all the time.  It's a little like holding the stars, isn't it?  Maybe the most important thing is to notice it, and embrace the Universe right back, when we are lucky enough to find ourselves in the presence of that kind of a gift.
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  1. Oh, Justine. I feel like I'm on the side of that CA highway with you. There is something about seeing stars that makes me feel both insignificant and so NECESSARY to the Universe. (Peter Gabriel -- BONUS).

    And the thoughts you had about yourself more recently, well, you are absolutely right.

    Yes, we must embrace the Universe right back. I like that as a mantra, for it starts with knowing we are first embraced.

  2. Oh, chills! And tears! Because I totally understand the beauty in not finding - but recognizing that moment when you feel you belong and when you feel you are at your best self. My favorite yoga teacher often says that yoga allows us to recognize those moment when they happen. I wonder how many of those moment I let slip by me, you know? So when I have those realizations in the moment, it's a gift. I am so glad you had a moment like that so recently. They are a gift. xo

  3. Love this and totally get it! Thank you for sharing... For some reason your post calls the song "Some Nights" by Fun to mind and the line when he sings, "I see stars..." I do love Peter Gabriel too. I am so glad you had this moment, it is so special and healthy for you, for any of us, to feel this way. What truly perfect moments for you to experience. xoxo

  4. Justine, this was great. Several months ago, my wife and I moved from Pasadena, CA to Missouri. In Pasadena, we'd maybe see 3 or 4 stars in the sky. Now I see way more. But, on the drive between the old home and the new, we passed through some unlit parts of the country. And like you, we stopped, looked up, and marvelled - both at the silence and the grandeur. It was beautiful. Thanks for bringing me back there.

  5. That was beautiful and truly a perfect moment, Justine. Being able to see so many stars is one thing I loved about where I grew up and where we live now.

  6. Gorgeous. I can FEEL it with you, both the nights you describe, the feeling of being exactly who you want to be & where you want to be at that moment. Oh how I miss being able to see stars. The one downside I've found to city living, my boys don't really know what a starry sky looks like.

  7. This post reminded me of a few years back in the late summer/early fall. BIL & his family, dh & I were at FIL's house, which is near the lake. Generally, we live too far south -- and the city lights are too bright -- to see the northern lights (aurora borealis) very often -- but as we were leaving that night, there they were, in all their shimmering glory. I grew up on the Canadian Prairies & had seen the northern lights a lot there, but my nephews never had. I am so glad that i got to share that moment with them.


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