Body Presencing 'In the Meantime': Defining Moments in Life


If someone asked you what was a defining moment of your life, how would you answer? For many of us, we have more than one defining moment in our lives, just as there are many phases in our lives. Our defining moments are based on the stories we carry inside of us; good and bad, and old and new. They are also based on beliefs we carry about us, our lives, our abilities and possibilities, and hopefully, they are changeable or evolving as we change and evolve. That said, defining moments occur almost in an instant. And in that instant, a decision was made by which we reacted to nearly instantaneously. Who said that IN THE MEANTIME moments last a long time. These moments can be instantaneous. In that second upon which we make an important decision which is reflective of how we think of us and others at that moment in time, it lasts both a second and an eternity.

That second not only lasts an eternity, but its effects can also be very long lasting. This is also an example of the elasticity of time. A second can seem like a very long time, and a prolonged period can go by in a second. All of this said an IN THE MEANTIME moment could last a second and also be forever (seeming). A defining moment which occurred with me and is descriptive of how I viewed myself and that time happened on a mountain. I was about twelve years old. My family was vacationing in Colorado, and we stayed at a dude ranch outside of Estes Park. It is a beautiful country. I just loved it. We rode horses, and we hiked every day we could for the two weeks, or so we were there. We had life and death experiences, moments of extreme beauty, moments of great exhilaration, we got stuck in hail and rain storms on mountain trails, and we were privy to the sky opening up to the most vivid blue overlooking mountain lakes. Most of us six loved it there.

The lodge or ranch where we stayed hosted an experience which could be an experience of a lifetime or a hazardous opportunity. We were close to a mountain called Longs Peak. It is one of the mountains in the Rocky Mountain range with an altitude over 14,000 feet. Those of us interested in hiking and climbing the mountain were shown a video of the hike/climb shortly before the hike was scheduled. A few families were attending the presentation. My father, mother and I were there. I can't even remember if my siblings were there or not. After watching the presentation, everyone who was interested dropped out except for us. Or I should say except for my father, myself, one of my sisters and my brother. My mother and other sister stayed back and looking back, rightly so. My father didn't listen to my mother when his mind was made up about something. At that time, to me, my father was a god-like figure. If he wanted to go and he thought we could do it, then I wanted to go.

We woke up at 3:30 in the morning because we had to be off the peak by noon or we would be in the midst of a mountain storm. The lodge made us a packable lunch and snacks and drove us to the drop off point. They would pick us up at a specific time or when the Rangers contacted them. We signed in at the rangers station, and we were off. This was my father, me at 12, my sister who was not in good physical shape for such an endeavor at 13, and my brother at nine who had a balance issue and my father was working with him to improve it. One of the things I can say is I am very grateful that we happened to be following a boy scout troupe. When we ran out of food, they had food to sustain us. It took us a lot longer to reach an area close to the peak than we anticipated. We were relatively slow. One example is we had a boulder field we had to cross at one point on our journey. These were huge boulders that we had to hike and jump over from one to another. My sister had trouble with this, and so did my brother, so dad was helping us along the way. We finally made it to this cable attached to the mountainside which we had to climb up to get close to the top where we could then make the last scramble to be at the peak of this fantastic mountain. It was now afternoon.

We continued anyway. My older sister led the way, I followed, then my brother and then father. Dad had to be in the back to help my brother through this climb. My older sister, just like all of us had never done a climb like this before and she did not have the upper body strength to help her to use the cable to climb up to the top. We were literally on the side of a mountain with a 2000 foot drop to the boulder field we had crossed below us. She got stuck and couldn't move. The cable was frigid, and we didn't have any gloves. I was holding onto this frozen cable with bare hands and waiting for her to move. I began my IN THE MEANTIME. Time stood still, and I knew I couldn't hold onto the cable much longer. My hands were slipping.

I was scared and only knew I couldn't continue as I was. In that meantime place, I felt my father's hand touch my leg; he had negotiated himself behind me as I was crying out for help. The decision I made instantaneously in that space was that I let go of the cable. That decision was an unconscious decision I made based on my beliefs that dad was, and he touched me, so I was ok. That moment lasted forever as I was suspended in time and space. I wasn't moving forward towards anything. I was in suspension... not knowing what to do and only knowing, blindly, that I couldn't move, I couldn’t hold on, and that dad had touched me so I would be ok or my life would be over. I was willing in that suspended place to take a chance. I let go. Did I want to live or die? I honestly don't know. I only know that I had to make a decision, and it could only be based on something inherent inside of me. That moment defined me for a long time. I was limited by being in a position that I felt I couldn't win, that I might be defeated or that I was defeated, and that only an act of God could help me. That act of God was an action I had no control over.

I am here and alive and writing so I did survive. My father somehow had been able to hold onto the mountainside and grab me enough so that I could gain a new grip on the cable. He pushed my sister to get her going again, and I scrambled up the rest of the way. My dad then continued to help him and my brother past the cable and also to the top. We didn't reach the top until after 1:00 p.m. and guess what, another act of god. Somehow that day, the only day that whole year, it didn't storm until we were off the top of the mountain. That moment in time of THE MEANTIME defined how I thought of myself for a long time. I had made a personal decision made on something old inside of me, which kept me hostage for many years. That decision was something like couldn't make it without my father. And my father kept that decision alive as long as he could by telling that story as if he was a savior doing amazing things to save his daughter. There are many other ways to look at this story. One way to look at it is that he had no business taking us up on that mountain by himself. He put us in jeopardy. It took me many years to see this dynamic.

One defining moment made in an instantaneous IN THE MEANTIME moment can affect us for a very long time. I have new defining moments also made in one of the in the meantime periods of which I will write about later. Many of them are more self-empowering. But the fact is that we all have these periods and we all make new decisions in a flash that affect us for long periods. I and we all, are very capable of taking these defining moments and learning from them, and at any time or moment, transforming them to ones that support us and empower us. In this example, I did when I began to see this experience from a very different perspective. That power to see things from a different perspective is with us also in a moment of insight.

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