While celebrations are intended to honor life’s more momentous occasions, such as weddings, births, promotions, and graduations, much of real life tends to happen during the in-between times. While moving from one moment in time to the next is seldom considered a significant occurrence, it is during those in-between times that we are in tune with life’s most profound but simple joys. Between birth and death, triumph and sorrow, beginnings and endings, we enjoy many experiences that often happen unnoticed. These times are just as worthy of celebration.
The in-between times are seldom about milestone moments. They are about the simple things of life. How you choose to celebrate them or which moments you choose to celebrate is up to you. You may want to celebrate the simple fact that you are alive and that every day is a chance to spend time with the people you care about or that you are able to do work that you love. You may take a look around, take stock of your life, and find many reasons to celebrate—a beautiful sunrise or sunset, a good book (my best celebration), fresh air, a perfect sandwich, or a beloved pet.
We like to say this is where the magic happens: the in-between times. Our happiness is not just in the big moments. Sometimes we try to have more of the big moments—more fabulous experiences, faster cars, fancier vacations—for we think that these things will bring us big happiness, but truly the magic happens in the in-between times. The ancients knew this when they said that dawn and dusk were magic moments. This was the time between the night and the day when they believed magic can happen if only you had eyes to see. And this is true for us, too: if we have eyes to see, we will find the magic not only in dawn and dusk, but also in all our in-between moments.
Celebrating the in-between times can be as easy as paying attention to them when they do happen, rather than taking them for granted. It’s your focus of attention that can turn an in-between time into a celebration. The in-between times are when life happens to us between the pauses that we take to honor our milestone occasions. Without the in-between times, there would be no big moments to celebrate.
Sometimes we continually race against time, trying to cram too many activities into each day and suffering stress in the process. You can also pay homage to the in-between times by slowing down and allowing yourself time to look around and allow your mind to take in all of your life’s wonders. Far, far too often we let those simple moments pass us by.
One way we can facilitate our celebrations of the in-between times is by tuning into nature’s natural rhythms. Nature has an organizing quality about it; some call it a field of intelligence. The apples always know when it’s time to drop from the tree, the flowers always know when it’s time to bloom, and the tides always know when to rise and fall. The more we spend time out in nature, the more our systems attune to the proper flow of energy in our bodies, for we are part of nature as well. That’s why people feel so good after spending time out in nature and feel so bad when they have spent hours under fluorescent lights and surrounded by concrete. We simply feel better when we have our feet on earth and sun on our faces.
If we start moving to this rhythm, we know when it’s time to stop working and when to rest. Pushing our bodies to work beyond their natural rhythm diminishes our ability to renew and recharge. We need to take a cue from Mother Nature who does all things in the proper time. A walk in nature can also let us attune to her organic rhythm while allowing us to move back into our own rhythm. When we move to our own natural rhythm, we can accomplish all we need to accomplish with less effort.
Allowing ourselves to move as nature moves rather than the artificial movements of a stress-filled world will help us to treasure and eagerly participate in the in-between times that otherwise we may be too stressed to see.
At a recent conference Dr. Norm Shealy, noted holistic physician, said that prior to and just after the turn of the century people averaged 10 hours of sleep a night, and this was sufficient to refresh and repair the body’s systems, especially the nervous system. This was also when people lived more with nature’s rhythms. It is probably unrealistic to expect people to get 10 hours of sleep on a consistent basis this century, but if we could get at least eight hours a night and spend more time in natural settings, it would be easier to make way for the magic in our lives.