Have you ever seen dolphins swimming in the ocean?
Lindsey and I unplugged for the last few days. We took the kids to North Bali for swimming, snorkeling, and an early morning boat ride to see dolphins.
On the day of the dolphin excursion, we rose dawn before to climb aboard a little fishing boat to see if we could catch a glimpse of these beautiful creatures.
I’ll admit that when my alarm went off at 5am, there was a part of me that wanted to stay in bed.
At that moment, my mind wasn’t focused on sea breezes and sea-dwelling mammals. I could hear a groggy voice in my mind saying, “Oh, come on. You can see dolphins another time. Close your eyes. Go back to sleep.”
I’m familiar with this voice. Sometimes this voice is very convincing.
Fortunately, in that moment, I had a strong reason to wake up and get out of bed. I knew there was an 8-year-old girl who had her heart set on seeing dolphins.
I woke the rest of the family, we got dressed, and we made our way to the shore.
By the time we boarded the boat, the sun’s rays were shining over the mountain ridge and the sky was growing brighter. The air was fresh. Each breath made me feel alive.
As our little boat made its way over the waves, I got splashed repeatedly. I was awake. I was alive. No longer did I long for my slumber. No longer was I tempted to go back to sleep. These were moments that I did not want to miss.
And then we saw them. Dolphins. There were dozens of them. (Our son said he counted 172.)
Our boat drove beside them as they swam, leaping out of the water. To give you a sense of the experience, I captured a little video using my phone.
(I’m the guy saying “Wohohohoho!” — My favorite dolphin is the one who jumps up at the 19 second mark — check him out!)
The video isn’t high-resolution and it certainly doesn’t compare with the experience of seeing those dolphins with my own eyes. But it does offer me a precious little reminder of this experience.
Much more precious than this video, though, were the smiles on the faces of my children and the memory of the experience that we had together.
Our daughter danced, smiled and waved her arms for the rest of the morning.
These moments were priceless.
If I hadn’t woken up, we would have missed this experience. We would have missed this opportunity to see dolphins and to laugh and have a great time together.
As 2014 draws to a close, I’ve been thinking about this idea of waking up.
Sometimes waking up means literally getting up out of bed.
Other times, waking up means snapping out of your habitual sleepwalk to actually experience this moment. It means waking up from the monkey-chatter in your mind to realize that you’re alive right now!
How can you wake up more fully to the life that you’re living? How can you wake up more fully to each moment?
I know that not all moments are “dolphin” moments. Not all moments make you want to leap for joy. Many moments are dull. Many are tinged with sadness, anger, and fear. Even these challenging moments offer us gifts of wisdom and experience.
By waking up to these more challenging moments (and not simply avoiding them) you’re better equipped to manage your emotions and learn from them.
I mention compassion because it’s so easy for me to get down on myself at times when I feel like I haven’t lived up to my own expectations.
I’m resolving to wake up a little bit more to the richness of the human experience in each moment.
- To wake up to the wondrous experience of having a body.
- To wake up to the deep wisdom of emotions.
- To wake up to the precious gift of my mind with its powers of focus of and attention.
- To wake up to the love in each moment—love for myself and love for others.
- To wake up a little bit more to that part of each of us that transcends this human experience.
I resolve to wake up a little bit more to each moment. I invite you to join me.
Mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool for training your mind to wake up.
You don’t need to sit for hours on end. Simply pause for five, ten, or twenty minutes and tune in with your breath, your emotions, and the gifts that are present in the moment.
As you establish a meditation practice in 2015, you’ll see the benefits.
You’ll feel less stress. You’ll feel less anxiety. You’ll have more compassion. These are proven benefits of meditation.
It takes some time, energy, and effort to establish a meditation practice. I like to say that it’s simple, but it isn’t easy.
Setting aside time each day for meditation isn’t always easy. Watching the breath isn’t always easy.
But it’s worth it.
That’s why Lindsey and I created 25 Days of Presence and shared these meditations with you throughout the holiday season.
These meditations can continue to help you establish a meditation practice. You don’t have to try to meditate on your own. These meditations can continue to guide you and support you as you create this practice.
There are 25 meditations, plus one bonus extended relaxation meditation.
It’s over 5 hours of guided meditation to support you.
Join us in making 2015 the year of waking up.