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|Stopping for Joshua Bell - Page 2|
Yet there is a sense in which many of us are fighting for our lives. We are struggling to be present for our own experiences. There is no more important task before us, or anything that could bring us more love and joy.
If we are lucky, occasionally we experience a sparkling moment when we break out of our trance of self and are fully present. Sometimes these lead to epiphanies, which present us with aha moments of new understanding. Or our thoughts simply may be "Isn't this wonderful?" or "Isn't life amazingly rich and complicated?" Or even, "Doesn't this look beautiful or taste delicious?" What makes moments distinct is that we are celebrating what actually is.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow called moments "peak experiences" and argued that they were often transformative. Many activists can describe the moment that inspired them to dedicate their lives to a cause. I know a high school girl who watched a film on the child soldiers of Uganda. Natalia was so moved by the film that she worked to share it with all the churches and schools in our town. She collected money for the child soldiers who were in trauma rehabilitation. Before she was out of high school, she was making a film about the Sudanese refugees in our town. Seeing Invisible Children at school had changed her life.
As a therapist, I shared many moments with my clients. I recall one with Wanda, a large, plain, thirty-year-old woman from a small town near Lincoln. At first, she had seemed a rather quiet, bland person, but as she slowly opened up and told me about her life, I realized she was remarkable.
When Wanda was eight, her mother died of breast cancer. She lived with her father, who was a long-distance trucker. When he was home, he was a taciturn TV watcher who had little interest in his daughter. Her mother had been an only child, and her dad was estranged from his family. After her mother's death, she was pretty much on her own.