A couple of years ago a dear friend and I went to one of my favorite spots in LA, Huntington Gardens. For those of you who don’t know, Huntington Gardens is a private non-profit institution featuring 120 acres of botanical gardens, libraries and art collections.
While my friend went to the restroom, I waited excitedly overlooking the wall (no matter how many times a year I go here I am always as excited as my first time) and while waiting I noticed two little girls and their moms coming in. One little girl hit my energy with such bliss she was twirling and squealing with excitement. The other little girl was ready to go into the gift shop and find a special something. When the girl and her mom came out of the gift shop, I heard her mom say “we’ll get it on our way out”. I could tell the little girl was anxious and really wanted to get the “thing” she had just eyed in the shop.
Throughout the day at the park I noticed the excited little girl laughing and twirling underneath the trees, she stopped breathless at the butterflies and bees that flew by, we even smelled a whole row of roses together and laughed. She was completely present every time I saw her. Thankful for everything in the moment, she noticed every breeze on her face, the stripes on the bees pollinating the roses, she commented on the way the tails of the koi fish sounded in the Japanese gardens. It was such a joy and a blessing to be around someone so present. But throughout the day I noticed the other little girl struggling, her head seemed to be constantly on the gift shop piece. When she came to smell the roses with us, she asked her mom how much longer til they were back at the gift shop.
It broke my heart to see her being in such a magical place with all this beauty around her and all she could focus on was the thing, the item she wanted.
Eventually her mom left and went to the gift shop and brought the item back to her. She didn’t seem as happy as I had hoped she would be even though she had gotten that thing she had been so focused on, she still seemed unable to be present and enjoy the beauty happening right in front of her.
As we were leaving the two little girls were walking in front of us. The girl full of excitement came running up to her friend, holding two beautiful leaves that had fallen off the trees and exclaimed “Maggie look I got two leaves and a scratch! This has been the best day ever.” My heart welled with love and excitement. Her friend just looked at her, not understanding her friend had picked up leaves from two trees she had twirled under and daydreamed under all day and the scratch was from reaching to the largest rose in the bush to smell the sweetest smell.
Very often in our lives we are drenched in a beautiful magical garden full of joy and grace but we are so focused on that “thing” in the gift shop, the thing we have to have and we miss what’s happening right in front of us.
Don’t miss out on the magic because your focus is on something else. As your making your to do lists, rsvp’ing to your social engagements, running into the grocery store, wrapping up a business deal- pause for just a moment and ask what are you missing that’s happening right in front of you? Don’t miss your two leaves and a scratch bliss. It can’t be bought, achieved or put off, it’s only experienced right here, right now!
May your month of July be filled with “two leaves and a scratch”.