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Being in the Moment

I’ve spent a lot of time on the road in the last two months talking about the new book and giving people homework at the end of a reading. The homework is this– BE IN THE MOMENT.

This, I know, sounds like a Hallmark card. This is what we should be doing, right? But in real time, real life, it isn’t always possible.

I was at the gym this morning and ran into a friend in my town who was reading “Perfectly Imperfect.” She said that the chapter on “Mothers and Sons” had made her cry. She has three sons, each of whom is on his way to being a man and she told me that to watch them now, as they move about their lives with their deeper voices and big hands and feet, she often juxtaposes in her head her images of them as little toddlers, needy and clingy, loving and physically demonstrative.

I think there is some valve in all of us that fails and pops open when we become parents— all emtional equilibrium falls apart. We spring a leak. All of a sudden those cheesy AT&T or Mastercard commercials make us weep. We cry at the drop of a hat. We cry just thinking about things that might make us cry.

My friend told me that right now she can’t watch the videos of her children from the past. They make her sad. Some of this is because she realized how absolutely consumed with the business of life she was during some of those fulcrum moments.

She described one video where she is tying the pinanta to a tree for her son’s birthday party and in the background he is repeating over and over that he has something to tell her. It pains her to see herself– continuing on with the pinata tying, focussed on the party, not stopping her action to listen. It makes her feel like she was a less than perfect mother.

And of course we all are. That’s simply the point of life.

And so my homework to you is this– just twice this week– BE IN THE MOMENT. Sometimes for me thats the first cup of coffee with a great froth of milk on top as I warm my hans around the mug before any one is awake. It’s the smell of my twins hair on the morning when I wake them for school. Its the moment on the couch when i hold my husbands hand– before we go upstairs and kick some butt for the bedtime routine.

This kind of focus isn’t possible every single day. But if we can learn to practice it– the way people practice yoga or train for marathons or spend time on the internet– if we can devote just a little slice of our week to this– then I believe we will look back with less regret. And our hearts will swell. Thats the feeling of joy. And joy is a precious commodity in this life.


  1. Shara

    June 7, 2009 at 3:17 am

    I can totally relate to your friend. There are some things that make me weep– the site of myself in certain times of my life. I wonder, what was I thinking when my children were doing “this”…

    I also cried during parts of your book, especially when you talked about waking up your kids. I wake up my sons when I need to, but it never seemed to be as you described… an act of love and watching the people they are becoming. It has always been because they needed to wake up.

    Thank you for reminding me to be IN the moment. You are a blessing!

  2. Mary McManus

    June 7, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Dear Lee – here is a poem from my book of inspirational poetry about being in the moment
    The Present
    Right now is the moment and that’s where I live
    To precious life’s moments my attention I give.
    “The past is over” I say with a sigh
    And cheerfully bid it a farewell goodbye.
    The future’s not here yet so pull back the rein
    And focus attention on the present again.

  3. Monica Soebbing

    June 9, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Dear Lee ~ Since I last commented on “Perfectly, Imperfect,” I read “In an Instant.” THANK YOU! I found the book in our little library (we live out in a rural area,) started to read it, and the next time I was in a book store, bought my own copy so I could highlight all the parts I too had experienced. Your voice is the one I have waited 4 long years to hear and it was so very healing for me to hear from someone who truly understood & knew the fears, the pain, & the changes in your love one that no one else can see. My husband’s trauma was so unique (he was impaled by the 2″ diameter rail which runs along the top of a chain link fence in his R shoulder) the medical personnel were so focused on all his physical injuries. And they were amazed that he survived; it was as if someone took a laser & found THE PERFECT spot to put a 2″ diameter pipe through the upper R body – it missed or only nicked all the vitals. Despite the fact his head hit the pipe as it was going thru his body with enough force to break his upper & lower jaws, dislodge/break over 10 teeth, and tear open his mouth, the TBI was pushed aside and never really addressed. We recieved no guidance or referrals from the Trauma center with regards to the TBI, just “he’ll get better over time.” Searching for someone to understand the issues of TBI became my focus while continuing to work FT and care for him, while his focus became getting the shoulder back together ~ which did take over 3 years of surgeries, etc. After I read your book, I asked him to read it and this past week-end we finally talked about it. Joe commented that he found what I had highlighted in your book explained to him some of the feelings I have struggled with explaining well to him in these last few years. He came away with a better understanding of what I have experienced ~ which as you know in a marriage, can be VERY difficult to get across sometimes! We have reached the next “good place” because of your book. THANK YOU! I have been amazed by the grieving process which is entwined in all of this ~ physically (for the most part) Joe is still the same man who walked out the door to work that morning. But mentally & emotionally he is no longer the man I married. And the change was not gradual, as it usually occurs, but instead “in an instant.” I have finally learned to let go of my “Old Joe” and am learning to live with this new guy who shares my life and my bed. The hardest part for me is when I see/hear a glimmer of the old personality come out for just an instant, and then it is gone. He struggles with my tears at those moments, as do I. The journey is bittersweet, but now I cannot imagine our life without his accident. We have grown, and luckily, together, through it. THANK YOU for sharing your story & your voice. It is obvious you have touched many lives. Thank you for touching mine. I wish you, Bob, & your family continued blessings in your journey.

  4. Lee Woodruff

    June 13, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    i loved reading this!!!!! When we laugh and cry we never feel more alive in some ways

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