Listening for Lessons

Listening for Lessons

In so many ways, I am so worn down by this pandemic. No surprise there; bet you can relate. I’m tired of the uncertainty, the anxiety, the fear, the isolation, and the collective pain that continues to ripple out. It’s been 17 months. 17 months!? Remember when we thought it would be a month or two? 

But, strangely enough, I continue to be grateful for being pushed into this slower, contemplative space. This space where I’ve been able to be honest with myself as I explore and deepen my self-awareness. I’ve been grateful for the opportunity to deep dive into things that the quick-paced world of years past (and a less evolved version of myself) prevented me from exploring. And currently, I’m enjoying practicing my ability to… listen for lessons. To remain still and grounded enough in myself to notice when the world around me is trying to teach me something, trying to reveal a new insight. 

My latest insight is that I’m not the best at being in the moment. At first, I pushed back. Me? Not good at being in the moment!? Come on! 🙄! At first it seemed preposterous, and certainly bruised my ego. But in remaining open to the possibility I found, rather quickly, that it was definitely the case. It became easy for me to see how true it was. Just because I can nod my head at something intellectually does not mean I am capable of embodying it. 

The truth is that I’m in the moment when I’m called to bewith parenting, with work, in many one-on-one social interactions. But if I have down time, and certainly when I have alone time, I’m likely to want to hang out in my imagination. I love jumping into the arms of my inner world; I have spent a lot of my time living and playing there. It’s a rich, cozy, familiar place where I sort through ideas, abstract observations, and piece them together like a puzzle. This is a fun way that I naturally learn about myself and the world. But… if my head is in the clouds, I’m sacrificing the chance to be more in my body and in-tune with the physical world around me. So it seems there’s balancing work to be done. That’s fine; “honey, life is just a classroom”, to quote Taylor Swift.

Part of this lesson was discovered this summer while watching The Last Dance on Netflix, a docuseries that chronicles the rise of Michael Jordan and the 90s Chicago Bulls basketball team. The series weaved in lots of unaired footage, hit the right 90s nostalgic sweet spot, and was so well done and psychologically engaging that I was able to be present for the whole thing. Yay! I’m not sure what others might take away from the series, but for me the nugget, the lasting message I was able to receive from it at this point in my life, was that Michael Jordan had a style of greatness that was fully tied to being in the moment. He surrendered to each moment, filled each moment, saw as much as he could in each moment, and then provided it with what it called of him. He basically became the moment. It hit me hard, in that good, humbling way.

So here I am, trying to strengthen one of my weaknesses, something that doesn’t come as naturally to me. And, fortunately for me, I have a two week vacation to Vermont starting tomorrow, so I’ll have some likely delightful opportunities to build up this muscle. Wish me luck, and I’ll keep you posted and see you soon!

With love,

Note: The photo was taken at my mom and her partner Fred’s house near Chincoteague, VA last week, and yes, helped me settle on this reflection topic! And for the curious… it’s artwork, not a functional clock.


  1. Stuart TenHoor

    Hi Sara and thanks for hitting me with two connections–I loved the narrator, in the last episode of Last Dance, with Michael Jordan dancing as he got on the bus, saying something like “people go to India, they go to Ashrams, to learn how to “be here now.” But Michael, he was always 100% in the present,” (which was one of his gifts)! And you talked about Chincoteague, one of my favorite places!

    Thanks for your words and have a great 2 weeks in Vermont!

  2. Suzi Gerb

    Thank you so much for sharing your journeys with us. As you develop the “muscle” of living in the moment, just please don’t lose sight of the fact that as a soul who jumps into the arms of your inner world, you are both blessed and a blessing to others. The world also needs those who can spin beauty and wonder from toneless ether.

  3. Celonia Walden

    Thanx my friend! Glad for your reflection! After breaking my right knee in a swimming pool in Cancun last month (My primary doctor still can’t believe I did that! Only I could break my tibia in a pool! LOL), and still continuing to be off work, I find I have filled my time with YouTube and TicTok videos (Taylor Swift being a favorite! Loooved your TayTay quote!) and endless Netflix and Disney+ streaming, I haven’t done the one thing that your reflection made me realize, I haven’t used my time “to be in the moment”… “to be present”! Thanx for the wake up call, my friend! And enjoy your vacation! You will be missed! 💜

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