Disconnecting to Reconnect

I’ve been out of touch the last two days because I’ve been closely in touch with my precious son. After two days at a yoga festival, we immersed ourselves in Disney and I honestly haven’t felt the need to send messages out to the world; it’s been a focused time on connecting one-on-one.

Remember when that used to happen? Yesterday in line for rides at Magic Kingdom, I was amazed at how many people in groups of families and groups of friends were disconnected and staring at their smart phones.

Not at each other. Not in conversation. Not looking eye to eye. Not feeling grateful for the moment and the place and this wondrous life.

For big pockets of the day, I actually turned my phone off. Who did I need to be in touch with, really? I was at Disney World with my son, a gift from God, and that was all I needed to know for the moment.

In fact, I was awash in emotion. As the Christmas parade danced down Main Street U.S.A., tears spilled from my eyes. Not from the idea of a Christmas miracle, but from the glory of life itself.

How wondrous, a day in the high 70s with bright sun and cool breezes. How wondrous, to be walking through a world of magic with a child entrusted to me by the universe.

How wondrous, to be able to take this trip alone with him – and to do so with my other children, too – to snuggle up at night together, to laugh together, to focus only on him and look into his eyes and fully hear his voice in the moment because that is all I have to listen to.

How wondrous to be truly present in this moment, not worrying about the next or the one prior. Just here, right now, together. True love.

Yesterday, we spent a good 12 hours at Magic Kingdom and we only left because the heavens opened up and poured rain down upon us. We returned to our hotel, stripped off wet clothing and climbed into pajamas, and then the bed, and ate from a room service tray while we watched children’s TV for hours.

The final show before we slipped into sleep was Arthur Christmas, about the one person who truly cares for every single child in the world. The idea that every individual matters and if you forget one, it is as if you’ve forgotten them all.

Shaya fell easily to sleep. For the first four nights of our trip, I did too, but not last night.

Last night, work worries and silly conflicts from past and future flooded my mind and kept me up and tossing for hours. I was no longer present, no longer in this moment. I was already heading home to the land of rush-rush-rush and get-it-done.

The challenge, I believe, is to find a way to live in the here-and-now always, to cherish the moments and look into another person’s eyes and hear their voice clearly without interruption from worries and anxieties and what-ifs.

As I plan a bar mitzvah and a bat mitzvah for my two older children next year, I am reading about the reasons behind this ritual which has become the most widely known and observed Jewish ritual in America. Judaism and Jewish ritual is about sanctifying the moments.

It’s about noticing. Celebrating. Cherishing. Stopping to fill up with a sense of wonder and gratitude.

Most religions are, in fact, if we strip away dogma and judgment and get to the bones of what we believe.

We believe in whatever we believe in to give us back our sense of wonder and our state of celebration. It’s what Walt Disney created for the entire world here in Orlando. And it’s what we must create for ourselves, every day, if we are to live satisfying lives.

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