What do airline pilots and police officers have in common? They both are in occupations that contain hours of boring routine punctuated by moments of extreme intensity/terror. Both are also required to be constantly attentive so they are ready to effectively deal with the critical moments when they arise. Consider the recent incident where, on a routine day flying out of New York, an airline pilot had to land his plane in the Hudson River.
We all experience critical moments that profoundly effect the course of our lives. Take, for example, the moment when Christopher Reeves fell off his horse. (Christopher Reeves was the actor famous for playing Superman. He fell during a horse show and was rendered quadriplegic.) This experience totally changed the direction of his life. When asked why he, an expert rider, fell, he replied: “My mind was on the next jump, I wasn’t in the moment.” He failed to be attentive in an ordinary moment.
Think about the critical moments in your life. Do you reflect on them with regret, replaying in your imagination how it could have been different, or do you see the value of the experience and how it shaped you? These moments of failure to focus contained essential learning and took us in an important new direction. That was certainly true for Mr. Reeves. His role became heroic. He didn’t give up on himself and through his conscious efforts and acceptance of his suffering he demonstrated super-human strength and endurance. He became Superman.
We too are transformed, molded by our critical moments and how we interact with their consequences. We too can rise to the occasion and become greater, expand our BEING. AND, we can also be aware that any ordinary moment can be one of those watersheds. This brings the realization that there are no ordinary moments. Each is unique and special, a snow flake, a finger print, requiring our full ATTENTION. Make this moment unique and special with your PRESENCE. Make it so!!