Jim Rohn is one of my favorite motivational speakers. And here is one of my most cherished Rohn’s quotations: “Wherever you are, BE THERE!”

It was Jean Webster who said, “It isn’t the big pleasures that count the most; it’s making a great deal out of the little ones.” But you can only “make a great deal” if you’re “there.” So, when you’re playing catch with your son, roller-blading with your daughter, watching a movie with the family or enjoying a magical intimate moment with your partner, BE THERE! And equally important, when you’re in the warehouse, at the office, in a meeting, at a seminar, or “in the field selling” to a client, BE THERE!

Not only “be there”, but develop the ability to absorb. Be like a sponge and soak it all up. Absorb the colors, the sounds, the perfumes, the tastes … don’t miss a thing. And not just the broad strokes, but the details as well, the nuances, the shading, the intricacies of the light, the fragrances, the ambiance, the words, the pauses, the gestures, the body language … Let yourself be taken in by what is happening around you. Make notes in your journal. Take photos if you can. But don’t trust the camera or the videocam because it won’t record the subtleties … the emotions … the atmosphere. Let your soul and heart take pictures of the occasion, capture it. Don’t be casual about recording the interesting, meaningful, special events in your life.

The special events of June 19th, 1993 made for a most memorable day. I share this story with you because it shows the magic that can happen when you are “there,” imbibing the experience, and the tragedy that might happen when you omit to pay proper attention to ALL the details around you …

Seward, Alaska. 6:50 am. I was standing on the old wooden wharf waiting to board the small boat that was going to take a dozen of us on a photographic expedition through the fjords of Resurrection Bay. Except for the purring of the engine, the town, its port, the bay, and the mountains were silent. And I, doing a deliberate 360 to soak up the intoxicating beauty of the scenery, was speechless.

I got to observe and photograph everything the brochure had promised: waterfalls, breaching whales, bald eagles, colonies of black-legged kitty hawks, and sea otters floating on their back while eating a sea urchin for breakfast. The brochure had not mentioned, however, the amber-colored mist slowly lifting as the sun gained strength, the smell of the seawater, the fragrance of the pines when we got close to shore. And the indescribable bliss one enjoys when surrounded by so much peace and breathtaking beauty.

I’m sure my shoes touched the gangplank when I walked off the boat, but it felt like I was floating as I was still “high” from the dazzlincredible experience I had lived during the last four hours. Unforgettable.

It was only 11 o’clock, and the forecast called for sunny and 80º F. So I drove six miles out of town to Exit Glacier. Once there, I gathered up my photo equipment and made my way along the path in the woods. Still “high” from the morning excursion, I took my time, stopping often to photograph flowers and bugs, not a care in the world, paying no attention to other humans in the vicinity—or to human-made signs.

Exit is a mountain glacier. That means its “body” sits high between mountaintops with extending parts advancing downslope in the many valleys, like the huge tentacles of a giant octopus. Because of its constant forward movement and the warmth of the summer sun, the front end (or face) cracks and crumbles into chunks that eventually melt to form a lake further down.

Having reached my destination, I spent the next two hours on the glacier itself and right in front of its face where the recently broken-off blocks of turquoise ice—some the size of a car—made for spectacular photos. It was just me, the sun, and the ice. Nobody else in my viewfinder (I would find out later why that was). I was in heaven!

At one point, while jumping from one block to another, I slipped and fell, badly cutting a finger on a sharp rock embedded in the ice. Because the red mess I was making on the pristine ice was getting bigger with every heartbeat, I decided to walk off the glacier to a big flat rock about twenty yards to the side in order to pamper my throbbing finger. That’s when it happened.

Seconds after I sat down, a huge portion of the 60-foot high face broke off and collapsed, right where I had been standing two minutes before. It sounded just like thunder. And although there had been no lightning, I could have sworn I saw a very intense light flash before my eyes as I realized how close I had come to “EXITing” this planet.

Good thing I was sitting down. My legs turned into jelly. I felt faint and nauseated. And although there was no one around to confirm this, I’m sure I turned as white as the snow in the surrounding mountains. That was a v-e-r-y close call. I know Helen Keller said that, “Life is a daring adventure or nothing,” but there’s a limit to “daring.” You still have to be careful or you won’t be around to relive and recount your adventure.

Replaying the tapes in my head of the last half-hour in front of the glacier, I remembered hearing many fracturing noises that would have alarmed me had I been paying more attention to the life-threatening signs than to the life-enhancing images in my viewfinder. On the way back to my vehicle, I noticed the many signposts warning of the danger ahead, and ordering visitors to not go beyond them. Apparently everybody else had seen and obeyed the signs, which is why I had had the whole glacier to myself.

I had walked there on the path, but I wasn’t “there”. It nearly cost me my life.

Having decided to spend the rest of the day in a more relaxed way, I headed back into town and stopped right by the harbor, near a park. I pulled out a book and sat on a bench facing the water—less adrenalin-producing than a walk on a glacier, but a lot safer. A much needed change of pace.

It was 5:00 when I picked up a delightful whiff that indicated something good was being cooked nearby. I spotted a restaurant across the street: “Fish ‘n chips made with freshly-caught halibut.” That sounded as good as the smell in the air. As it turned out, it also tasted very good. Generous portions of tender white fish in a golden, crisp batter, fried to perfection. Hand-cut fries. Homemade tartar sauce. Mmmmmmmm!

Feeling full, I was about to ask for the check when I noticed the cook retrieving a pie from the oven. I asked the waitress what it was. “It’s wildberry pie, my mom’s specialty,” she said. “Want some? It’s great with vanilla ice cream …” “Sure” I heard my belly answer. Now, I’ve had my share (and often other people’s too!) of pie in my life, with all sorts of fillings, and all kinds of toppings, in some of the most renowned restaurants, but I had never had anything that tasted as heavenly as that one did. Mmmmmmmm!

Now I was really full … meaning I had room for only ONE more slice. It was 6:30 when I waddled back to my bench. I just sat there for a while and, as I had done twelve hours earlier, I soaked up the scenery. Too tired to read, I was now listening to a cassette of Irish music by Richard Searles on my Walkman®. During a piece called Separation of Soul & Body, I felt a surge of well-being like I had never felt before—happy, no doubt, to be alive. It was surreal. I unfolded the jacket of the cassette and wrote only the words needed to describe the surroundings and what I was experiencing.

Here is the integral text:
Snowcapped mountains, hanging glaciers, open spaces, green ocean, crashing waves, ocean smell, green forests and meadows, warm sun, light wind, fishing boats, diving loons, flying gulls and bald eagles, algae-covered rocks, green grass and purple little flowers, blue sky with some clouds, cool fresh air, sightseeing boats returning, comfortable bench, smell of freshly cut grass, good music, no bugs, no company (don’t want any), not lonely, not thirsty, not hungry (!?!), not tired, not stressed, not rushed, at peace, content.

That was fifteen years ago, but I can recall the whole happening in great detail and still feel the chills up and down my spine because I was not just present on that park bench, I was “there,” body and soul.

There’s a popular expression that says, “Life is just a bowl of cherries” Well for me on that June evening on the shore of Resurrection Bay, life was like a slice of wildberry pie—warm, sweet, tasty, filling, something to be savored.

I hope you have similarly memorable days stored in your memory bank. Isn’t it just great that on days when life serves you a slice of drab, you can relive those incredible days in a second just by recalling the events? And the best part is that the 2nd, 3rd, or 10th time around, it’s “free”—as in no cost involved, but also free of bugs, free of disruptions, free of guilt (because free of calories) so you can enjoy the rich sauces and fanciful desserts over and over and over. Mmmmmmmm!

Of course, this can only happen if you were “there” the first time, and if you took the time to absorb, to record it all, not just on paper or on film, but in your mind, heart, and soul.

BE the very best you can be,
DO all you can possibly do,
GET everything you want to have,
GIVE as much of it as you can give.

Daniel G. St-Jean
Aka The Sparkplug of Personal Development
Author of 7 Simple Keys To Spark Change In Your Life Now!
Co-author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life – volume 2

Author's Bio: 

Daniel G. St-Jean’s mission is to instruct and ignite the people who are just thinking about making significant changes in their life, and to support and encourage those who are in the midst of making such changes so they get to live the life they really want to live. Visit his web site at http://www.SparkChangeInYourLife.com, read his Blog at http://www.aBlogAboutMakingLifeChanges.com and subscribe to his eSparks at http://www.SparkChangeInYourLife.com/e-sparks.