As I stood in the driveway in the cold dark hours of Wednesday morning looking up at the lunar eclipse I wondered about wonder. I was alone, in the dark, in my driveway at 5am. It was a good opportunity to practice present moment awareness. To patiently watch as the sliver of light grew smaller and smaller. To relax and just be.
Last summer we traveled to Oregon to view the total eclipse of the sun. We drove hundreds of miles, over two days to watch a natural spectacle that would last only a little over two minutes. And yet those fleeting minutes are something that I remember as one of the highlights of last year. It was a big “WOW” moment.
This week’s lunar eclipse was visible from my driveway and the only effort required was to set an alarm and shuffle out of bed. It also lasted for over an hour, allowing me to go out and take a look multiple times (warming up inside in between). As I stood in the dark, I thought about how in the distant past, a lunar eclipse would have been a major event – frightening, awe-inspiring, celebrated. So I made a conscious effort to take it in, to enjoy it and savor the experience – to not compare or judge it by that other eclipse. To appreciate it and have a “Wow” moment.
I want to fill my memory bank with lots of positive deposits. Multiple factors go into creating memories that stick but emotional content helps to make the memory stronger. When we attach emotional significance to the experience, it helps make a stronger memory. That’s partly why we are much more likely to remember negative events – they naturally have a high emotional charge. So when we let ourselves have a WOW moment, feeling the wonder and excitement of the event, it helps make that positive memory something that we can hold on to. And something that can bring us pleasure again and again.