Sometimes I Close My Eyes

My eight year old daughter takes a hip-hop dance class once a week and it is always an adventure! Some weeks she is happy afterwards and some weeks she is not. She is at an age where her self-esteem can be fragile and oftentimes an unpolished phrase or a sideways glance can effect her evening.

I mention this because last night something different happened. Last night she told me she had had a great time and that class was a lot of fun. She went on to tell me how at one point during class she was not with the rest of the class. They were up and she was down. Or something like that.

But here’s the cool part!

She said, “Daddy sometimes I like to close my eyes during class,” and that that was why she was not in sync with everyone else.

I haven’t gotten to the best part yet.

What was awesome was that she was smiling and giggling when she told me this story. It didn’t bother her that she was not with everyone else.

Now I realize that this may have been an isolated incident and that tomorrow she may return to worrying about what other people think. We all do to some extent. But she didn’t last night! And that’s what I am carrying around with me in my pocket today.

My keys, a thumb drive, and my phone are also in my pocket. But they are at the bottom and reaching them takes some effort.

Last night’s moment?

That is at the top of my pocket, where I can easily grab it, with little to no effort.

Last night’s moment was brief, but it actually reminded me of two very important things that, as adults, we tend to forget.

First, it is okay to close your eyes and just lose yourself in what you are doing. Sometimes we close them figuratively and sometimes we close them literally. But one thing I’m certain of is that we don’t close them enough. Our eyes are not our best window to the world and yet many of us, myself included, rely on them almost exclusively.

My daughter had the courage and self-awareness to close her eyes last night so that she could better experience the moment. Better yet, she became the moment. She wasn’t worried about how she looked and she wasn’t worried about missing anything. I only wish I could have been there to witness it firsthand.

There is a scene in the movie Imagine That starring Eddie Murphy that I think comes close to portraying the beauty of completely giving yourself to a moment. In the scene Eddie’s character has to dance to appease his daughter’s imaginary friends. At first, he is just going through the motions. By the end though, once he gave himself to the moment, what took place was wonderful. If you decide to watch, please watch until the end for the full effect. (And if you haven’t seen this movie I recommend watching it tonight. It’s simply beautiful!)

The second lesson I took from last night’s moment was that we must keep what’s most important to us in our front pocket. Where we can easily reach it. Too often we fill our pocket with other stuff that gets in the way. And it makes it hard to reach the important things. If we can even reach them at all.

It’s time to rearrange our pockets.

To do so we might have to empty out all the lint first. But once we do we will have plenty of room for the things that matter most. And we shouldn’t ever have to struggle to find them.

Struggle to find your keys. Struggle to find your thumb drive. Struggle to find your phone.

Just don’t allow yourself to ever have to struggle to find the things that matter most in your life. This year I have a very large office with room for everything I could ever imagine. And in my office I have binders full of data, numerous books that I’ve read, or want to read and filing cabinets full of reports. Getting to either of these things wouldn’t take much time. But it would take some time. On the other hand, from anywhere in my office I can always see this:

happiness board

in no time!

The things that matter most to me are at the top of my pocket.

Right where they belong!

So who would have thought I would’ve learned so much from a hip-hop class?

Not me!

And who would’ve thought I would’ve learned so much from my daughter?

Well, to be honest I knew this already.

“Everything changed the day I figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in my life.”

Brian Andreas

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