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The Moment You Gasp

Posted By: Randy GageDecember 7, 2011

One of the things on my “bucket list” was touring all the world’s greatest Opera houses.  So last year when I spoke in Milan, it was an opportunity to see La Scala, the great house that Verdi had such a close association with.

I visited during the off-season, so the house was closed.  But the Museo Teatrale located off the foyer was open.  There were only some velvet ropes and one guard between me the historic theatre.  I’ll take the 5th amendment on exactly how it happened, but of course I found my way inside.

I made my way through some hallways and found the entrance to the private boxes.  I opened the door and entered one, the majestic theatre came into sight, and I involuntarily gasped!  Then tears came to my eyes.   Sitting there for ten minutes was one of the most spiritual occurrences I have ever experienced.

The tradition, history, and energy are so thick in the building you can cut it with a knife.  You can almost hear Arturo Toscanini conducting the opening concert, or picture the premiere of Verdi’s penultimate opera, Otello, which took place there in 1886.

I’ve had similar moments.  Once while driving to Key West, I pulled over, hypnotized by a waterspout churning it way across the ocean.  Another when I kissed someone goodbye and told them I loved them, just before they died.  Yet another, simpler, but no less profound, was waking up one morning, seeing the sunrise, and deciding I would never take drugs again.

There are many magic moments in life.  Moments that make you gasp, or laugh, or cry, or just kneel down in gratitude.  But you have to look for them.  And notice them when they appear.  And know, there will always be another one...

So what’s your moment?

-RG

33 comments on “The Moment You Gasp”

  1. Well I would have to say that I have one EVERY time I drive across the Golden Gate Bridge.. And what's even crazier is that I have been living here most of my Life!

    I think the first time I went to Yosemite National Park, I was so in awe by looking up at Half Dome, El Capitan and the beauty when looking down from the top of Yosemite Falls, I almost cried. But then there was surfing a perfect wave, and most recently looking at the SF skyline all it up just last week from across the Bay.. Shall I go on?

  2. As a child, I had never experienced Disneyland. When I was in my 30's, a good friend, who had been to the Magic Kingdom many times, offered to take me as a thankyou for helping her out. Just traveling to California and seeing a palm tree was amazing. However I was not prepared for the first time I would walk through the gates and into Disneyland. I was overwelmed with such joy and excitement and wonder! It brought tears to my eyes. I was a kid in a candy store and I LOVED every minute of it!

  3. RG,
    One of the most important ideas that I've taken away from reading your work is that life is a gift and it's important to live with an attitude of gratitude! It's when you pay attention you realize the wonders around you. Here are moments when I clearly remember "gasping."
    - watching my children being born
    - hearing my daughter sing on stage
    - also saying goodbye to a loved one (mom) as she died.
    - sunsets on St. John
    Thanks for provoking these mostly great and not so great thoughts.

    TG

  4. Randy, you are greatly blessed. Culturally I do not know much about 'long haired' music but professionally am so excited about meeting new prospects as have interesting 'goodies' for them. Once I had to book opera ticket for my then client to an opera sounds like 'Cosi Fan Tute'' . For the time being I enjoy good shows virtually or we attend the local theatre at the Esplanade. Enjoy and be continuously blessed!

  5. Well- honestly there have been lots of moments- but the biggest one that keeps on giving happened a few months after my Dad passed away. He was an amazing pianist, but it never had been my thing growing up- to even notice. A few months after he passed away I found at least a dozen reel to reel tapes. Our family remembered he had recorded his music- but we really had not paid that much attention. The moment came- after I had spent all kinds of money to get the tapes on CD. What we had- was Dad- and the biggest second chance I have ever heard of. It started a 3 year journey- meeting the best pianists- learning how to master CDs- creating an awesome tribute to Dad in the form of CDs I will always cherish. Care to listen?

    John Bidwell

  6. Randy,

    A truly wonderful post, all the more so for me as I love classical music and have been in many of the great “symphony halls” of the world.

    Two “Moments” come to mind for me:

    My family went to Europe for 2 years when I was a boy. Spring of 1953 we went to Rome, a place I had never been to before. As soon as we got into the city I told my parents “I’m home.” And I really FELT that I was home. A little while later we were walking across St. Peter’s square and then we entered the awesome church. I gasped…

    Another “moment,” though not a gasp was when I was at my mother’s deathbed. She couldn’t speak or communicate, but I knew she could hear. I was holding her hand and telling her how proud I was to be her son and how much I loved her----and a single big tear rolled down her cheek. A moment I will never forget…

    I think I will make a list of “10 Gasping Moments” and how they have affected my life. Should be a fascinating exercise.

    Thanks for your teaching. I hope we both have a lot more to “gasp” about before the final curtain falls.

  7. For me it was the first time I saw my sister in over 5 years. We are a very close family but she lives in Greece and I live in Arizona and we both had children within those years. I knew I would be happy to see her when we finally connected again but I was unprepared for how emotional the reunion would be. I didn't stop hugging her for a good 3 minutes.

  8. The first time I held my newborn daughter Megan.

    The first few times she started calling me "Da-da"

    Every time she climbs on top of me in bed and hugs me to sleep.

    And so many more but I'll stop here. Thanks for allowing me to share RG!

  9. Randy,

    When I learned the truth of human nature. It was like an epiphany. It's now like a guiding light in my life. For wisdom preserves it's owner alive.

    Thank you for being the heart centered leader you are!

    -Jared Knowlton

  10. I gasped when I thought I was getting fancy chocolates from my husband but instead found a silver/gold cross pendant instead.

    I laughed when I realized what the locals on Copacabana Beach were pointing at. They were pointing at ME as I stood in a brazilian bikini with glaring white buttocks that even made me squint to look.

    I cried when my Mom, weak and tired, reached for my hand and smiled, and went back to sleep content and peaceful as if she was more than ever ready to die. Life is so short.

    I knelt down in gratitude this weekend when our car got struck on the Interstate by a 6-point buck but it never came through the window and we never hit another car.

  11. Took a chopper ride in the Grand Canyon.. what a rush.. want to do the white water raft thing on the Colorado River on the Canyon for one of my bucket lists.. and will do it soon before I get too old.. you should expand on your other peak experiences.. like to know what it was about that morning you wanted to be sober.. kissing someone goodbye etc.. that stuff resonates with people...

  12. When my dad died this year. I have always had a very stormy relationship with my dad because he never gave me the space to be myself. But on his deathbed he let go of control and gave me the biggest lesson in life. If that alone had been the only lesson he had given me he would have been a great dad already. Remembering that period is, without doubt, every single time my most awesome moment. Thanks Dad.

  13. Hi Randy,
    The most memorable moment in my life before the birth of my children was hiking to the summit of the Golden Ears Peak in B.C. in Canada. It was one of my first solo hikes and the view was and is breathtaking.

    I continue to hike and I often post pictures on my site to keep the memory fresh.

    Thanks for asking,
    David

  14. Giving birth to my daughters, truly breathless at that one. - seeing St Peter Basilica in Rome one step in the room and I couldn't help but feel the tears fall. - the time my grandmother spoke to me after she had died One of my favorite quotes is "life is not about the breaths you take but the moments that take your breath away. Thanks. RG it IS great!!!

  15. I definitely have to say that the absolute most memorable moments in my life are...

    1) Watching my son being born.

    I have always wanted to be RICH, own my own business and help other people. But, the day my son was born was the catalyst to me becoming extremely focused. Knowing that there is a little life looking up to me to be his rock really woke me up!

    2) The day I went to sell 2 ounces of weed to a guy a barely knew. He set me up and the "buyer" put a gun to my head, took all of my weed and my money.

    When this happened to me, my life flashed before my eyes and I had a revelation. I thought about the values that my parents instilled in me (how I let them lay dormant for years), my desire to be better, do better, and as you say "LIVE RICH", so I can be a blessing and inspiration to others. Also, my personal relationship with my creator and being a light for people. Needless to say, I dropped everything associated with that lifestyle that day.

    Thanks Randy for everything you do.

    Laz

  16. Randy,
    Your blogs are so interesting that I read a few time over. Like what Jared I certainly agree you a heart-centred leader. Thanks.....

  17. Randy,

    the moments where are you talking about here, is pure love ... These moments I appreciate most of all. I'm always touched by how beautiful this world is... can be as wonderful relationships among people, as beautiful places I had the opportunity to see .... I feel the beauty in my heart and is getting bigger ... I rejoice from trees how form interesting shapes, scents of spring, sunset, looking at the water surface calm also turbulent ... I understand and feel the diversity of the world ...

    Several times I have experienced moments when I was nicely to "chilled" and I felt the whole universe ... What do remember the first time it was on one our known Czech pilgrim place ... Bystřice Hostýnem below ... I cried with happiness ... When I visited Paris this spring, touched by a visit Notre Dame .... In Prague, I feel always a wonderful feeling in the Cathedral of St. Vitus. I could continue further and further ....

    Most of all I am moved by what wonderful creation are children ... Their eyes reveal everything ...

    With this work on myself realize that this can be constantly experiencing ... Like that have children ... They are so beautifully innocent

    People around me ... Receives me how smile can completely change everything ...

    I love it constantly ... I love, expressing love ..

    I love, you are..

    Marketa

  18. I like your story Randy. I am still wondering how you got in. I think Theatre's are holy places, I don't know if that is what made it spiritual for you, but that's how I feel about those places.

    Anyway, I love those moments too. I really like to cry and gasp, and kneel and laugh. I was thinking about how babies and little ones do gasp and laugh so much. There worlds are filled with wonder. They gasp at mashed potatoes and dog kisses. So, I was thinking of one of my very first moments...

    I don't remember how old I was, but I was pretty little anyhow, when I went to the dog show with my family. I can remember the glee I felt when all the dogs came trotting out. Oh my! I was really excited, and so I said to my mother "But Mommy how will we fit them all in our car?"

  19. Moments?

    - picking my first 4-leave clover as a child

    - Febr. 1977: putting my crutches away for good

    1981 - early summer in Praque: being on the small Jewish cemetery, taking photos

    - Aug. 16th, 1985: stepping for first time on American Ground

    - 1985/´86: First X-mas in America, with all the lightended-up houses! That was new....

    - full moon on Hawaii, April 1986

    - March 1999: first time scuba-diving in the Red Sea!!!

    - some kisses...

    - emotional moments...

    - traveling places of the world

  20. Randy, many thanks for this post!

    After reading the penultimate abstract I've got tears in my eyes. Only three simple sentences with so huge emotions!!! You are a real master of word!

    Heart centered leader - that's so about you!

    I very appreciate what you are doing. It often happens that your post is just what I do need at the very moment.

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  • 33 comments on “The Moment You Gasp”

    1. Well I would have to say that I have one EVERY time I drive across the Golden Gate Bridge.. And what's even crazier is that I have been living here most of my Life!

      I think the first time I went to Yosemite National Park, I was so in awe by looking up at Half Dome, El Capitan and the beauty when looking down from the top of Yosemite Falls, I almost cried. But then there was surfing a perfect wave, and most recently looking at the SF skyline all it up just last week from across the Bay.. Shall I go on?

    2. As a child, I had never experienced Disneyland. When I was in my 30's, a good friend, who had been to the Magic Kingdom many times, offered to take me as a thankyou for helping her out. Just traveling to California and seeing a palm tree was amazing. However I was not prepared for the first time I would walk through the gates and into Disneyland. I was overwelmed with such joy and excitement and wonder! It brought tears to my eyes. I was a kid in a candy store and I LOVED every minute of it!

    3. RG,
      One of the most important ideas that I've taken away from reading your work is that life is a gift and it's important to live with an attitude of gratitude! It's when you pay attention you realize the wonders around you. Here are moments when I clearly remember "gasping."
      - watching my children being born
      - hearing my daughter sing on stage
      - also saying goodbye to a loved one (mom) as she died.
      - sunsets on St. John
      Thanks for provoking these mostly great and not so great thoughts.

      TG

    4. Randy, you are greatly blessed. Culturally I do not know much about 'long haired' music but professionally am so excited about meeting new prospects as have interesting 'goodies' for them. Once I had to book opera ticket for my then client to an opera sounds like 'Cosi Fan Tute'' . For the time being I enjoy good shows virtually or we attend the local theatre at the Esplanade. Enjoy and be continuously blessed!

    5. Well- honestly there have been lots of moments- but the biggest one that keeps on giving happened a few months after my Dad passed away. He was an amazing pianist, but it never had been my thing growing up- to even notice. A few months after he passed away I found at least a dozen reel to reel tapes. Our family remembered he had recorded his music- but we really had not paid that much attention. The moment came- after I had spent all kinds of money to get the tapes on CD. What we had- was Dad- and the biggest second chance I have ever heard of. It started a 3 year journey- meeting the best pianists- learning how to master CDs- creating an awesome tribute to Dad in the form of CDs I will always cherish. Care to listen?

      John Bidwell

    6. Randy,

      A truly wonderful post, all the more so for me as I love classical music and have been in many of the great “symphony halls” of the world.

      Two “Moments” come to mind for me:

      My family went to Europe for 2 years when I was a boy. Spring of 1953 we went to Rome, a place I had never been to before. As soon as we got into the city I told my parents “I’m home.” And I really FELT that I was home. A little while later we were walking across St. Peter’s square and then we entered the awesome church. I gasped…

      Another “moment,” though not a gasp was when I was at my mother’s deathbed. She couldn’t speak or communicate, but I knew she could hear. I was holding her hand and telling her how proud I was to be her son and how much I loved her----and a single big tear rolled down her cheek. A moment I will never forget…

      I think I will make a list of “10 Gasping Moments” and how they have affected my life. Should be a fascinating exercise.

      Thanks for your teaching. I hope we both have a lot more to “gasp” about before the final curtain falls.

    7. For me it was the first time I saw my sister in over 5 years. We are a very close family but she lives in Greece and I live in Arizona and we both had children within those years. I knew I would be happy to see her when we finally connected again but I was unprepared for how emotional the reunion would be. I didn't stop hugging her for a good 3 minutes.

    8. The first time I held my newborn daughter Megan.

      The first few times she started calling me "Da-da"

      Every time she climbs on top of me in bed and hugs me to sleep.

      And so many more but I'll stop here. Thanks for allowing me to share RG!

    9. Randy,

      When I learned the truth of human nature. It was like an epiphany. It's now like a guiding light in my life. For wisdom preserves it's owner alive.

      Thank you for being the heart centered leader you are!

      -Jared Knowlton

    10. I gasped when I thought I was getting fancy chocolates from my husband but instead found a silver/gold cross pendant instead.

      I laughed when I realized what the locals on Copacabana Beach were pointing at. They were pointing at ME as I stood in a brazilian bikini with glaring white buttocks that even made me squint to look.

      I cried when my Mom, weak and tired, reached for my hand and smiled, and went back to sleep content and peaceful as if she was more than ever ready to die. Life is so short.

      I knelt down in gratitude this weekend when our car got struck on the Interstate by a 6-point buck but it never came through the window and we never hit another car.

    11. Took a chopper ride in the Grand Canyon.. what a rush.. want to do the white water raft thing on the Colorado River on the Canyon for one of my bucket lists.. and will do it soon before I get too old.. you should expand on your other peak experiences.. like to know what it was about that morning you wanted to be sober.. kissing someone goodbye etc.. that stuff resonates with people...

    12. When my dad died this year. I have always had a very stormy relationship with my dad because he never gave me the space to be myself. But on his deathbed he let go of control and gave me the biggest lesson in life. If that alone had been the only lesson he had given me he would have been a great dad already. Remembering that period is, without doubt, every single time my most awesome moment. Thanks Dad.

    13. Hi Randy,
      The most memorable moment in my life before the birth of my children was hiking to the summit of the Golden Ears Peak in B.C. in Canada. It was one of my first solo hikes and the view was and is breathtaking.

      I continue to hike and I often post pictures on my site to keep the memory fresh.

      Thanks for asking,
      David

    14. Giving birth to my daughters, truly breathless at that one. - seeing St Peter Basilica in Rome one step in the room and I couldn't help but feel the tears fall. - the time my grandmother spoke to me after she had died One of my favorite quotes is "life is not about the breaths you take but the moments that take your breath away. Thanks. RG it IS great!!!

    15. I definitely have to say that the absolute most memorable moments in my life are...

      1) Watching my son being born.

      I have always wanted to be RICH, own my own business and help other people. But, the day my son was born was the catalyst to me becoming extremely focused. Knowing that there is a little life looking up to me to be his rock really woke me up!

      2) The day I went to sell 2 ounces of weed to a guy a barely knew. He set me up and the "buyer" put a gun to my head, took all of my weed and my money.

      When this happened to me, my life flashed before my eyes and I had a revelation. I thought about the values that my parents instilled in me (how I let them lay dormant for years), my desire to be better, do better, and as you say "LIVE RICH", so I can be a blessing and inspiration to others. Also, my personal relationship with my creator and being a light for people. Needless to say, I dropped everything associated with that lifestyle that day.

      Thanks Randy for everything you do.

      Laz

    16. Randy,
      Your blogs are so interesting that I read a few time over. Like what Jared I certainly agree you a heart-centred leader. Thanks.....

    17. Randy,

      the moments where are you talking about here, is pure love ... These moments I appreciate most of all. I'm always touched by how beautiful this world is... can be as wonderful relationships among people, as beautiful places I had the opportunity to see .... I feel the beauty in my heart and is getting bigger ... I rejoice from trees how form interesting shapes, scents of spring, sunset, looking at the water surface calm also turbulent ... I understand and feel the diversity of the world ...

      Several times I have experienced moments when I was nicely to "chilled" and I felt the whole universe ... What do remember the first time it was on one our known Czech pilgrim place ... Bystřice Hostýnem below ... I cried with happiness ... When I visited Paris this spring, touched by a visit Notre Dame .... In Prague, I feel always a wonderful feeling in the Cathedral of St. Vitus. I could continue further and further ....

      Most of all I am moved by what wonderful creation are children ... Their eyes reveal everything ...

      With this work on myself realize that this can be constantly experiencing ... Like that have children ... They are so beautifully innocent

      People around me ... Receives me how smile can completely change everything ...

      I love it constantly ... I love, expressing love ..

      I love, you are..

      Marketa

    18. I like your story Randy. I am still wondering how you got in. I think Theatre's are holy places, I don't know if that is what made it spiritual for you, but that's how I feel about those places.

      Anyway, I love those moments too. I really like to cry and gasp, and kneel and laugh. I was thinking about how babies and little ones do gasp and laugh so much. There worlds are filled with wonder. They gasp at mashed potatoes and dog kisses. So, I was thinking of one of my very first moments...

      I don't remember how old I was, but I was pretty little anyhow, when I went to the dog show with my family. I can remember the glee I felt when all the dogs came trotting out. Oh my! I was really excited, and so I said to my mother "But Mommy how will we fit them all in our car?"

    19. Moments?

      - picking my first 4-leave clover as a child

      - Febr. 1977: putting my crutches away for good

      1981 - early summer in Praque: being on the small Jewish cemetery, taking photos

      - Aug. 16th, 1985: stepping for first time on American Ground

      - 1985/´86: First X-mas in America, with all the lightended-up houses! That was new....

      - full moon on Hawaii, April 1986

      - March 1999: first time scuba-diving in the Red Sea!!!

      - some kisses...

      - emotional moments...

      - traveling places of the world

    20. Randy, many thanks for this post!

      After reading the penultimate abstract I've got tears in my eyes. Only three simple sentences with so huge emotions!!! You are a real master of word!

      Heart centered leader - that's so about you!

      I very appreciate what you are doing. It often happens that your post is just what I do need at the very moment.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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