Big Meaning from Small Moments

woman jumping on a hike during sunset

“You never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

– Dr. Seuss

When I was young, my dad loved to take us on day hikes near our home. We lived in a lot of different places growing up, sometimes in the city, sometimes in the suburbs or small towns,, and other times out in the country. No matter what the setting, Daddy would find nearby places in nature to take us exploring. We always packed a picnic and he would invariably make us sing as we walked something I loved as a small child but caused me great embarrassment as I grew into my teens.

Small moment

One hike I especially remember took place along a short portion of the Appalachian Trail when I was about 11 or 12 years old. All five of us were there: Mom, Dad, my older brother, Bill, and little sister, Debbie. There was also our little dachshund and chihuahua mix named “Toby.”

Toby and Bill were up in front of me on the trail when I heard a pop and a sound like, “chchchchchch.”

I looked down to see my foot hovering just above a rattlesnake!

It nearly scared the life out of me! I was stuck for a moment between the “freeze” and the “flight” reflex. Thankfully, I gathered the presence of mind to flee backwards to my parents for safety.

Of course, they were worried about my brother and Toby who were up in front of us. My dad forged a path through the woods to bring them back around past where the angry rattlesnake lay. We all hustled back down the path to the safety of our car.

It wasn’t until we were headed home that we began to ponder the situation in its entirety. How was it that my brother and dog made it past that snake without disturbing it? Why was it that I was the “lucky one” who got the fright?

Big meaning

We’ll never know for sure, but over the years I made this story mean something important to me. I decided it meant that I was brave and strong. I decided that I was chosen by the universe to have an adventure that day and to show my parents that I could handle myself in a crisis. As a child who was often frightened by my own shadow, I was proud that I was able to react quickly to the danger and get myself out of there without crying or waiting for help.

You never know the meaning of a moment until it becomes a memory (my version of the Dr. Seuss quote). Often, we create the meaning we need from our memorable moments like I did with my rattlesnake encounter. We can help others to do it, too.

My chapter in the upcoming book The Wellness Universe Complete Guide to Self-Care: 25 Tools for Goddesses is titled “The Legacy Journal: Story Keeping for the Ones You Love.”

The chapter (Chapter 5) unpacks this idea of making meaning from moments and memories and applies it to the important opportunities we have to help those we love tell the stories of their lives. I hope you’ll check it out and download your free copy of The Legacy Journal at the link below so you can start collecting your moments and making them meaningful.

What do you make your moments mean?

You can hear me tell a version of the Rattlesnake Story here: 

Connect with Patti Talbot on The Wellness Universe and walk away feeling better!


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