Thanks to the generosity of a friend, I have been in Maui for over a week. One of the things I was looking forward to most was the opportunity to snorkel again. My first trip snorkeling was to Black Rock, reputed to be one of the best places to snorkel on the island.
As I took the trolley down the coast, walked through to the beach and set off to swim close to the rocks and reef that my guidebook had recommended, I remembered my first snorkel many many years ago in Tortuga, an uninhabited island off the coast of Venezuela.
In Tortuga, our experienced guide led us into a magic cavern. The water was crystal clear, the variety of fish extraordinary, and the colors dazzling – iridescent blues, purples, yellow stripes and orange spots. Just as breathtaking were the pink, green, orange and blue corals. Tiny fish hid in their tentacles, others nibbled at the corals themselves.
I have been snorkeling in other places – Mexico, Fiji, the Cayman Islands and all around the Caribbean – but I have never seen the brilliance I experienced in Tortuga. And some part of me has always longed to see that magic again.
Swimming close to the rocks that bounded the beach in Maui, I started looking for the abundant coral I’d seen off the coast of Venezuela. But I was sorely disappointed. This was certainly no Tortuga!
And then I had a moment of awareness: I was so focused on what was not there, that I was missing what was right in front of me.
What a difference my change of perspective made!
I stopped looking for coral and began to enjoy myself, focusing on the beautiful and colorful fish (some I had never seen before) and delighted as each fish appeared through my goggles, tickled by the pink cauliflower coral I had missed earlier and astonished by the abundance of urchins–black, white and even red!
The lesson is obvious, if we focus on what we miss from our past, instead of paying attention to what is in our present, we miss the opportunity to just enjoy a relationship, a vista, a concert, a dinner out, a snorkel in Maui!
Happiness arises when we experience what is here, instead of lamenting what is not.
So what’s good in your life that you’ve been missing? Tell me what you see when you stay in the present. And…enjoy!
Until next Tuesday,