My husband and I just took my niece to Disney World for her 1st visit to celebrate her 8th birthday. We took her brother when he turned 8, 3 years ago, and there is something truly magical about seeing The Happiest Place on Earth through a child’s eyes. We don’t have any children of our own yet, but we are huge Disney fans and wanted to share the magic with our only nice and nephew, and it is truly a blessing to be able to do so.
Here are a few things these trips have taught me:
Children truly live in the moment. This is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand they are fully engaged in each second of each day. They see each thing as it comes and make truthful, simple and sometimes enlightening observations about the smallest things! However, when they are tired, they are tired right now… When they have to go to the bathroom, they have to go to the bathroom right now… When they are hungry, they are hungry right now! They don’t have the ability to see into the future and anticipate their needs, and desires. This can be a real blessing, to be able to truly live in each moment as it comes, not to worry about what you may need or want in the future.
On the other hand, they also move on from each moment the second it’s over. They don’t take any time to savor or reflect on an experience, to see the beauty in something or appreciate an emotion. Once they finish experiencing something, they move right on to what is next, the “now what” mentality. This is the real curse of being a child, the ability to savor and reflect doesn’t seem to develop until much later in life, and for children it seems to be a much more delayed reaction. My nephew loves to tell us, at random times, his memories of our time together during our trip to Disney World. I hope my niece will do the same thing in the years to come.
At the end of each day I always made a point to ask everyone what their favorite part of the day was and to explain why. This is a practice I have always done when traveling or attending an event, but it is really one I should work on doing in my everyday life. Truly each day is a blessing and if we work on living in the moment we should be able to reflect at the end of each day on what our favorite moment was, not just when we are experiencing new and exciting things. I think this is something I am going to try and work on doing more!
It can be difficult to truly live in the moment, as adults we are always worrying about what we need to do next, when we will be hungry, what we are going to eat for dinner, how long until we arrive at our destination, it can be a challenge to be in the moment, to experience fully what we are doing, connecting our mind and our body to our surroundings. Children remind us to be present, to not be afraid to fully experience what is going on around us, but they also remind us to be thankful for each moment. To take time to reflect, not to move on so quickly to the next thing, because the moment we are in right now will pass and with it so will we.
This is true for both the exciting and enjoyable moments as well as the dull and uncomfortable moments. My niece reminded me of this numerous times on our trip. She didn’t care to much for the big thrill rides and she told me that any time she was on a scary ride she would tell herself that soon it would be over and then she wouldn’t have to do it again! While sometimes in life it can seem as if our moments of misery will never end or our moments of joy are passing to quickly it is so important to be present no matter what the situation. We can make moments of pain less painful by embracing whatever it truly is instead of worrying about how long until its over.
Disney is really good at doing this. A good percentage of your time in Disney World is spent standing in lines, but it never feels as long if you engage in the process. Disney disguises long times by making the process an engaging activity. They have activities, scenery and entertaining cast members to interact with. Brining you into the moment & making the moment pass quickly. Disney is one of the few places I can ride big thrill rides, there may be dips and falls, but there is a story line and music and amazing scenery that allows me to focus on the moment and not worry about what is coming. My niece was often times surprised by this! She couldn’t believe how fast time went, other times the wait was long and painful, but the moments we were present, discussing our experience, looking at all that was going on around us, the time would pass quickly. If you are present the most painful moments will pass quicker, by simply embracing each moment for what it is helps us to let go of whatever it is that is causing us to worry about being uncomfortable or tired.
In moments of joy being fully present allows you to fully experience and enjoy without worrying about what is coming next and how you don’t want the moment to end. By fully connecting your mind and body to what us going on around you the moment of joy can stretch on forever. One single moment lasts forever as you fully exist there. And those moments will come back to you in moment of unhappiness to carry you through.
A lot of people look at Disney as an indulgent, expensive, and overly stimulating brand, but I see it as a reminder to be present. To wish upon a star and believe in your dreams, to do good in the world around you, to be caring and kind and compassionate towards others and to cherish each moment for what it is… Magical. Each moment is a blessing and being present creates magic in our hearts, allowing us to follow our dreams and inspire those around us to do the same. I grew up on Disney and I am so thankful I have been able to share the magic that lives in my heart and memories with my niece and nephew to help inspire the same in theirs. I hope they can live in the magic of each moment and I can remember to do the same no matter where or when the moment takes place.