I was blissfully following the shoreline trail on one of the smaller Galápagos Islands, feeling at peace and happy to be off the boat; I am prone to seasickness which is a merciless feeling so I was looking forward to several hours of being grounded. Disconnected from technology and the world for a couple of weeks, my brain was finally without that insatiable churn that always seems to want to plan “what’s next”. I had slipped into the timelessness of “this moment now”, so i was just happy to have the sun on my face and be lost in a child-like exploration of the shore.
I was looking at my feet as I picked my way over some jagged rocks, when, like a jack-in-the-box, this little one popped her head out at me. I stopped, startled and looked at this funny ball of white fluff with huge eyes.
I was immediately entranced.
I could not stop gazing at her, a wild crazy smile on my face. My whole being suddenly did this strange little “happy dance” and I heard this funny chirping-gurgle-squeal sound just tumble out of me, which seemed to have the effect of increasing my bliss in the moment and her fixation on this strange creature facing her.
I mean, Just look at this face! I bet it made you smile!
She had no fear of me, just bobbed around in her little nest as curious about me as I was of her. I kept a respectful distance, not wanting to disturb, but wanting to enjoy this unanticipated moment of wonder. To feel that glorious feeling of discovery, joy, being “all in” and giggling with delight was the most astounding gift.
I stayed musing and adoring for the better part of an hour. Every single time I looked at her funny little face I just burst into laughter and relished the luxury of nothing else to do but sit in this place of glee.
That was 10 years ago and I still come back to this picture, which is saved right here on my desktop, when I need to be reminded of that sensation of abandon, and my spirit being tickled into laughter. I can recall in an instant, how it felt to stop, watch, laugh, revel and celebrate all within the space of one breath. Once I bring it back to my memory, it resets my day and reminds me to not take myself too seriously.
Laughing for the simple joy of a moment is such a sweet and pure thing. I find that it happens so rarely in my life. When I think of how laughter shows up, it seems to be somehow darker and less pure. Comedians invite me to laugh at the absurdity of a situation. Satirist or politicians want me to laugh “at” someone, to find glee in mocking. I am charmed by the wit of many of my friends and I chuckle at the stories we tell with fond memories, but where are the moments when delight just bubbles out into laughter? What has happened to the experience of wonder - that feeling of surprise caused by something beautiful?
For me, this kind of laughter takes a carefree spirit, a being in the moment, an openess to what is around me and a connection to that child-like place when I allow myself to feel “tickled”. I need to be ready to see beauty in order to marvel at it. Delight and wonder are somehow born out of my willingness to connect and celebrate.
It is my newest experiment. To observe whatever is around me with a willingness to discover its delight ...to be like a bottle of champagne before the cork is popped...ready with effervescence so that the moment there is something to delight in, I can simply let go and throw my head back and rejoice - in wonder.