Forgetting ourselves

When you do not know what you are doing and what you are doing is the best, that is inspiration.
 —Robert Bresson

What an exciting game.

My son’s team battled hard. The score went back and forth. When his team scored a goal, the other team tied it up. When the other team scored a goal, his team tied it up. In the dying seconds of the game, my son’s team had the puck in the opposition end. They peppered the goalie with shot after shot. The seconds ticked down, but the goalie stopped every puck. Finally, the puck rebounded off his pads out to one of our forwards who flicked the puck past the goalie’s right shoulder. When I glanced at the clock, it showed 0.4 seconds remaining in the game. They won, by that much.

An hour later, I was at a Christmas social. Although I felt perfectly well, I noticed that my throat was hurting. I knew I wasn’t coming down with anything, so I asked myself, “Why is my throat so sore?” I realized that during that exciting hockey finish I must have been screaming my head off.

I could not remember doing this at all.

In the final seconds of the game I was so “in the moment” that I completely forgot myself. I wondered what other things my body had been doing that I was unaware of during that time. Did I stand up? Wave my arms? Clap? I don’t remember. What did I look like to other people? 

It was like I stepped outside of my body for a time. I was “beside” myself. And it was exhilarating. Even the tense moments before the winning goal felt electric as they crackled with potential. 

Why is it that during some of the best times in our lives, we’re  “beside” ourselves?

When we lose ourselves in an activity we’re passionate about, we forget ourselves and hours pass unnoticed. We’re so inspired that our body goes into auto-pilot while the very essence of ourselves takes over.

What makes you forget yourself? What draws your essence to the surface and sets your body to the side?

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