Imagine how it feels to be born. One moment you’re nice and cozy, in a space that feels safe, secure, and comfortable. Then you’re jarred from womb to world.\r\n \r\nI have a feeling that being born takes zero thought. Sure, Mama is thinking (and yelling), but for Baby? There is no thought, only the sweet slip-and-slide into the roaring circle of life.\r\n\r\n \r\nMoving from grounded safety into slippery-no-thought happened to me at the tender age of mid-30s (yes, that’s as specific as I go). My slip into deeper meaning appeared in the final moments of a gorgeous five-day retreat. (If you haven’t heard of 1440 in the heart of Scotts Valley, surrounded by ancient redwoods and powerful, feel-good energy, I suggest you Google the place. Immediately.)\r\n\r\n \r\nI had just finished assisting my husband with teaching a five-day course about Eastern medicine and qigong, an ancient healing practice that combines movement, breath, and visualization.\r\n\r\n \r\n“One last picture,” I told him as we stood over a creek on a lovely bridge. I wanted to get the perfect picture of him “Pulling Down the Heavens.” The backdrop was perfect: cascading waterfall, gurgling creek, swaying redwoods. Perfection.\r\n\r\n \r\nYet, no matter how my beloved tried to get into my frame, he was either blurry or not quite picture-perfect. So, I took a step back. And then another. And then…splash.\r\n\r\n \r\nI am over the railing, off the bridge, and splattered in the stream!\r\n\r\n \r\nSome people make lemonade from lemons. Here’s what I make from falling in Schitt’s Creek without a paddle.\r\n\r\n \r\nBe aware of your surroundings. Everything can change in an instance. Change is constant. Do your best to stay grounded about where you are physically, mentally, and spiritually. Rather than looking for perfection (e.g., the perfect picture/post/memory) appreciate and savor moments that bring you into the present with ease and joy.\r\n\r\n \r\nWhen offered loving help, accept loving help. My husband wanted to help before, during, and after my fall. He didn’t let me go until he knew I was on steady ground inside and outside. That’s love. And that’s me loving myself too. I knew by accepting his helping hand, he could pull me up. He had the desire and the strength…and the hysterical giggles too!\r\n\r\n \r\nEnlightenment feels empty. Your consciousness is like a container that holds your life experiences and shapes how you perceive the world. When you’re born, your consciousness is empty and pure. Enlightenment comes when you’re able to empty your mind and restore your mind to its original innocence. If you’re able to access that purity and peace by taking one conscious, loving breath, congratulations! You’re enlightened in that one fleeting moment. Now repeat. Again and again forever.\r\n\r\n \r\nAs I look back on that tumble into the roaring circle of life—life showing up as a beautiful waterfall, a fast-moving creek, and the desire for a perfect picture—I realize that by becoming careless in my picture taking, I experienced a moment of enlightenment: I had zero thought. I felt only sensation, sound, and a tremendous wave of love and gratitude.\r\n\r\n \r\nWhen I fell in the creek without a paddle or a thought, I was gifted with in-the-moment living that always washes us with the same blessing: deep appreciation for our lives, our loved ones, and this incredible journey called Life.\r\n\r\n \r\nParisa Shelton is a practitioner, teacher, and student of the healing arts. She’s spent the past 11 years doing what she loves and sharing her blessings with clients wanting to transform their health, healing, and overall happiness. Parisa is a certified Pilates, yoga, and qigong teacher dedicated to reshaping the way Americans view healthcare and self-care by sharing ancient and holistic tools that relieve stress, reduce pain, and inspire happiness. Parisa accompanied her husband, master healer Chris Shelton from Morning Crane Healing Arts Center in San Jose and LA, to 1440’s inaugural retreat in January 2018. She can be reached at www.MorningCrane.com.