In perhaps his best-known work, "Swimming to Cambodia," Spaulding Gray, a monologist, described his obsession to have a "perfect moment."* Gray divulged that he had a tendency to fantasize about the life not lived -- the possibilities rather than the one that he is actually living.
As Gray indicated: "What the monologues were doing therapeutically was reminding me that I did something else. And that story is constantly grounding me and saying 'But you have made these choices because this is what happened.' "
According to Virginia Satir, psychotherapist, known as a pioneer of family therapy, “Life is not what it’s supposed to be. It’s what it is. The way we cope with it is what makes the difference.”
I close my eyes and I try to image my perfect moment.
It is the millisecond that reveals itself when there is convergence of feeling loved, safe, healthy and engaged. Sometimes there is an overwhelming sense of wonder. It is deeply private. I imagine myself as the Degas dancer, preening my head to something wondrous - even if only the next moment is exactly as the last.
Others I know have perfect moments when they are in a state of sheer exhilaration and manageable danger; yet others have moments when then they are cocooned from the external forces and emotionally aligned with their own heartbeat; and still others find the moment when they are sitting in the sun easily eliciting the answers to the NY Times crossword puzzle. A little girl I know said having a dollar in her hand as she entered the Dollar Store was her “best happy ever.”
The possibilities are infinite.
It is in these moments that we are engaging with the life we have. Remembering these moments and looking forward to more can help us cope with more difficult times by providing a positive expectation about the future.
* Gray describes that this moment occurred after he nearly drowned in the surf. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1992-03-05-vl-4622-story.html