Aha Moments

I envy people who experience dramatic “aha” moments in their lives. For example, a leadership coach whose work I enjoy talks about a particular moment, when packing for a business trip and debating whether or not to include a swimsuit, that she declares “no more!” to her own inner critique about her body. And it would seem that she really did turn a corner that day—never to return to those same self-defeating patterns.

Now I’m familiar with the experience of a flash of inspiration—a connecting of the dots which excites and opens a new door in my thinking or creating. But do those things really happen in spiritual life? Are there levels in the process of cultivating an awake consciousness from which we don’t backslide?

I’d like for this to be true.

My own process as I observe it tends to be much more organic and unfolding: a spiral which feels as though I travel again and again over the same ground—circling like a camper who has lost her way out of the forest.

Now likely there is something to say about this camper and the spiritual journey. Something about how we circle, not exactly in the same place, but on a deeper register over the lessons we most need to learn. So that what feels like being lost is in fact– what? If not being found exactly then at least walking with the knowledge that ones steps are not in vain.

But today I wonder about these aha moments because I think I had one last night. Flipping through a magazine passed on to me on a recent trip I come to the final page—a lovely photo and reflection by Kimberly Button, an Orlando-based green consultant. I read her bio and discover she has also written a book called The Everything Guide to a Healthy Home.

“Oh—what a great book!” I think. It sounds like exactly the kind of book I would like… and I’ve never heard of it. And then, without any reason, an “Aha” moment is born in me. And something true settles deep in my heart—the realization that, quite simply, the world is full of people doing interesting things.

I recognize that this is not such a mind-blowing observation. But woven within it for me was a sense of release, of freedom almost, as I meditated on the many, many people working in a multiplicity of ways to enhance our world. And my part then becomes much easier– just sharing my little piece of truth.

To that end, I have been getting more serious about writing (next month’s agenda in my 2013 happiness project) and dreaming about book contracts. And I realized that, without even meaning to, I was holding out a little bit of self-satisfaction for if I manage to do that. (The Everything Guide to Crafting Home Rituals!)

And I realized, that’s not the way it has to work—nor the way I have to live. Even if I get a book published, I would just set a higher goal and shift my attention to it and hold out on feeling really really proud of myself till I reach that goal.

My aha moment was an invitation off this carnival ride— The Carousel of Delayed Happiness. Instead I want to soak up the joy and meaning in all that I am currently living. To notice the shadows in my office as the sun moves behind clouds and out again. The sound of wind on this unseasonably warm day and the way it causes the heart mandala Perl and I made together to sway. And the satisfaction I find building a new venture one relationship at a time. And in the process to notice and nod to my impatience toward all that is unfinished in my life even as I unwrap its fingers from my lungs and take a deep breath.

Now only time will tell as to whether I am able to hold onto this aha sentiment and continue to live out of it. I’d like to.

Wondering what “aha moments” have found their way into your story and how you might hold onto them?