Snapping Pictures Of The Moment is Not You In The Moment

Every two years Cirque Du Soleil brings their touring show to our town. Every two years my mom get us tickets as one of my Christmas gifts. It’s truly, my favorite gift. There’s a magic about Cirque, and for 2 hours I’m transfixed and transported to another place and time, and completely in the moment.

Last night we were sitting 4 rows off the floor, waiting for the show to begin, chatting with each other, and our new neighbors in the seats next to us. The husband stepped into his chair and started joking with the wife about whether she was going to check Facebook through the whole show. I giggled and and the husband said… something about me not having my phone out and not being addicted to Facebook, like it would prove something to his wife. However, I had to admit I’d just put my phone in my purse after checking Facebook to see how my daughter was doing.

She was on a sleep over with her friends. As I checked Facebook I saw pictures of them going to the park, and painting their nails, and I knew she was fine. I was able to close my phone and stick it in my purse.

to the park


I turned to my mom and said “I don’t know how people did sleepovers before Facebook.”.

She laughed at me and said, “We used to let you play outside all day long alone. We picked you up in the morning and asked if you’d had fun. It was just a different time.”

A different time it is.

The wind began to howl through the “trees” the lights dimmed, and music began. Characters began coming out of the woods, and I grabbed my phone. I snapped a few shots and realized I did NOT want this to be my experience. I do not want to be so focused on getting pictures (so I can remember the experience later) that I don’t even experience the show right now.


I put the phone away. I zipped up my purse and just fell in. Head over heels into the show.

Next thing I knew the lights came up, it was intermission. Intermission always makes me a little sad. The second half of the show always goes so much faster than the first and this experience, this show, this magic, is one I wish would last forever.

While the lights were up I checked Facebook. Hanna and her friends were now eating fruit dipped in chocolate and getting ready for bed.

getting ready for bed

I looked around and noticed at least 3/4 of the people were on their phones. At the same moment my mom said about how sad it was that everyone was on their phones. In a way it was. There were people sitting together, both staring at their phones. We’d just seen the first half of a magical, mystical show filled with symbolism and breath taking acts… and yet, people were on their phones instead of talking to each other about it.

I looked around and it dawned on me… just like I was prepared to “miss” the show by taking pictures of it, so I could remember it later…. the same thing had happened with many moments of my life. How many school programs had I been intent on capturing on video that I paid more attention to the shot in the view finder than the actual performance. How many Christmas gifts did I not really notice being opened, waiting, camera in hand, to capture that “OMG moment” when she realized what it was. There are a lot of moments I missed because I was trying to save the moment for later… but the thing is… now is all we have. We can’t save the moment for later, we need to jump in and enjoy the moment right now, while we have it, while we can experience every little bit of it.

I put my phone away. I chatted with my mom and waited for the wind to start whipping through the trees again, a sure signal the magic was about to begin again. The second half was more powerful than the first, and when the lights came up I had to take a deep breath. I had to prepare myself to walk from the magic of Varekai back into the real world of downtown Wichita, from the spectacle of this forest I’d been lost in for the last two hours back into escalators with complaining people, streetlights, traffic, and honking horns.

Because I had been fully present, immersed in the moment, I am still able to take a breath and transport myself back to the forest, and connect with the magic that was Varekai, and that is much more than a photo could ever give.

I woke up this morning thinking about my kiddo, feeling slightly off kilter not being woken up by a boisterous 8 year old. Wondering if she was awake yet, and how much earlier than they’re used to she’d woken her friends up. I suddenly realized I had a couple hours of silence. I’m always begging for a little silence, and decided to just enjoy it. A little coffee. A little uninterrupted chat with the hubs. A little writing before the magic fades. A wonderful morning that will be made only better hearing all about her sleep over and how much fun she had last night as well.


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4 Responses to Snapping Pictures Of The Moment is Not You In The Moment

  1. Kelly says:

    Wow, Jackie – your writing just gets better and better. This is a beautiful post.

  2. Karen says:

    I had a similar thought last week sitting in a doctors office waiting room. Nearly every single person was hovered over their phones. I wasn’t – my battery had died.
    Granted, there isn’t much to “take in” in a waiting room, but it’s everywhere. We’ve lost the wonder while we scramble to capture the moment – or escape it.
    Beautiful post. And I love your testimony that when we truly tune in with all of ourselves, we experience – and remember – so much more fully.

    • Jackie Lee says:

      It’s definitely tough, especially as a blogger. I feel the need to fill up my instagram and facebook feeds with “lifestyle” shots… but those moments I can let go and really be in the moment are definitely the best! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment Karen! I really appreciate it, and your kind words.

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