In a hurried life, obliviousness comes down around us like a curtain. There are only rare moments when the curtain is pulled aside and we are graced with a vivid sense of aliveness. Virginia Woolf called these interludes "moments of being." She was dismayed at how much of life is lived in the haze of "non-being."

"A great part of every day is not lived consciously. One walks, eats, sees things, deals with what has to be done; the broken vacuum cleaner; ordering dinner; writing orders to Mabel; washing; cooking dinner; bookbinding. When it is a bad day the proportion of non-being is much larger."

Wendy Lustbader, Counting on Kindness