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52 Ways to Show I Love You: Honor the Irreplaceable Moments

Moments that make room for love can transform us forever.

Source: manseck/Pixabay

I woke yesterday morning with a demanding headache. I interrupted my morning journaling to breathe into it, and became aware that my brain felt way too full, almost bursting with tasks needing tending after eight days of vacation. I meditated, allowing the seemingly endless parade of items to float up and then through, dissipating into some metaphorical ether as the pressure eased. Gradually the frenetic internal movie screen quieted. My breath brought oxygen to the spaces; the swelling that I imagined receded. When it came time to move on from meditation, I consulted my heart. I was not interested in addressing a single item on my to-do list, even though I was well-aware that it was not going to shrink on its own. It was a gorgeous late August morning and I wanted to take a bike ride with my husband. Nothing was more important than sharing that pleasure with that man yesterday morning.

David was delighted. He put the bike rack back on the car in record time, pumped up the tires on our bikes, and reminded me to bring our water bottles. Everything else could wait.

Pedaling along the South County Trail, we inhaled the morning freshness, smelled the honeysuckle, noted the early-changing leaf colors. We connected with the earth as our tires rolled along the bike path. I allowed my consciousness to glide along with my bike. Memories of other transcendent moments in my life slid onto my mental screen and then faded to make way for others. I began to muse about how easily we can miss those special encounters when love, in its many forms, makes change possible.

What makes an irreplaceable moment, a turning point?

  • It is unique. Something in the experience announces its uniqueness. The magnetism that pulls people across a room to introduce themselves to specific others or that draws attention to the person sitting in the third seat on the left at the rear of the auditorium.
  • It has a memorable quality. Something in the experience stands out so that it is not forgotten. Just as Proust forever associated his childhood experience of a madeleine with his aunt, many of us smell a dish in the kitchen and instantly imagine the beloved cook who put it in the oven. Irreplaceable moments imprint themselves on our memory, growing stronger with each iteration.
  • It signals a shift in our consciousness. Whether the change initiated is tiny or huge, things are never quite the same after that moment.

How does the moment affect us?

  • Emotional impact. An irreplaceable moment affects our state of arousal. Most people of my generation remember exactly where they were when we learned that President Kennedy had been shot. Those of Gen X can place the context in which they first heard about attacks on the World Trade Towers on September 11, 2001. A substantial literature attests to the impact of trauma on memory, with flashbacks being a symptom of PTSD. But any strong emotion can imprint. Surprise. Delight. An uncharacteristic outburst of rage. And, of course, a moment marked as “falling in love”.
  • A window on possibility (a new perspective?). Irreplaceable moments can
    Source: sandid/Pixabay

    also happen when we first see something from a new perspective or when we entertain a possibility we had not known existed. Julia Child’s life changed when she first tasted a fine French preparation of Dover sole; the trajectory of a career veered left when an inspiring professor opened a new world for me; prisoners in Plato’s cave discover a whole new world when they venture beyond it.

  • Consequences. An irreplaceable moment can be identified after the fact when one recognizes the consequences that were set in motion, like the first visit to a town that decades later became “home” or the encounter in the coffee shop that led to a lifelong friendship.
Source: sandid/Pixabay

Why does honoring the irreplaceable moment show love?

  • Love of self and love of another. In some instances, an inner compass is directing us; listening to it is an act of loving oneself. Without self-love, we are limited in our ability to love another. In other instances, the irreplaceable moment directs us to pay attention to someone who has a piece of the puzzle that is us, as described by Lawrence Kushner, and can move us toward our wholeness.
  • We must leave room in our lives for the unscripted, unplanned, undirected. If
    Source: MichaelGaida/Pixabay

    we do not put ourselves in situations where transformative moments can occur, we may miss them. When we insist on trying to control our direction and timing, the unexpected has little room to happen. We may be able to create routine, a familiarity of experiences that can expand into a sense of safety, and we may be able to love more comfortably when we feel safe — but we leave little room for the universe to bring us the surprises that can help us grow. Making space for the unexpected allows room for love in our lives.

  • Setting aside the “should” for the “wants” can allow authenticity to guide one’s involvement in a relationship. True desire signals that connection and moments encouraging it are more important than narrow pursuit of a goal. In the end, the longest way around may be the quickest path.
Source: MichaelGaida/Pixabay

What are some moments in your life that are uniquely meaningful? Think back to their impact on you. Did the moment affect you immediately or after a period of time? Was its impact evident right away or gradually revealed? Were there responses in your body that helped you recognize a special experience? Has that sense of recognition strengthened over time?

Copyright 2017 Roni Beth Tower

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