A Magical Moment

24 May

It’s commencement time, so indulge me.  Aaron Sorkin spoke at his alma mater, Syracuse.  Notably, he called the graduating class “a group of incredibly well-educated dumb people” and told them there were a lot of “screw-ups” to come.  [My immediate thought: I hope the Big Trip is not one of them . . . self-doubt is really starting to creep in around here.]

Anyway, I most like this nugget, tucked in his speech, when he wishes for each member of the graduating class but “a moment”:

Baseball players say they don’t have to look to see if they hit a home run, they can feel it. So I wish for you a moment—a moment soon—when you really put the bat on the ball, when you really get a hold of one and drive it into the upper deck, when you feel it. When you aim high and hit your target, when just for a moment all else disappears, and you soar with wings as eagles. The moment will end as quickly as it came, and so you’ll have to have it back, and so you’ll get it back no matter what the obstacles.

To me, this “moment, ” is almost akin to Alfred Adler’s notion of an “oceanic feeling”  whereby everything, so perfectly, comes together.  You literally feel like one with the universe — connected, limitless, unbounded . . . well, oceanic.

I remember perhaps my first “moment,” which indeed has set me off searching for more.  It was at the beginning of my New Zealand Odyssey.  One of my first nights out there, alone, halfway around the world.  I met some strangers at the liquor store, who told me to come to the seal colony that night.   I went.  And I just remember sitting there on this seal colony (i.e., big rocks meet the ocean) in the dark with a bunch of stoners and vagabonds from all over the world whose accents I couldn’t yet understand, pretending to smoke a cigarette and wondering how long before the seals attacked us.  And I was utterly filled with wonder and awe about the world and my place in it.

Travel, or perhaps any experience that separates you so far from the edges of your comfort zone, has a way of unlocking, sometimes simultaneously, the heart’s deepest desires and the world’s biggest secrets.  Here, Aaron Sorkin, is to hoping for a magical moment (or two!?) on the Big Trip.

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