Not long ago I had a magical experience when I drove home from the gym.
It was that time of morning when the shadows are deep and the sun is bright and warm overhead. Driving was almost blinding as my eyes were adjusting to the darkness of the shadows and brilliance of light.
As I drove up to the curb, I noticed the large puddle in front of our house that always turns up after any amount of rain.
It was supposed to get fixed when the city repaved the street last year. It was still there afterwards so my husband Dave asked one of the city workers why it was still heaved, and he replied: “You can’t polish a turd.”
Anyways, instead of pulling up behind my husband’s truck through the puddle, I stopped short because I noticed a group robins bathing in it on the road.
I was reminded of a line from one of my favorite poets:
“The whole world keeps whispering or shouting to you,
Nibbling your ear like a neglected lover.”
I sat in my car for a few minutes watching the golden light streaming through the leaves over the birds while they bathed in shifting sunlight.
Sometimes they were splashing and fluffing their feathers and resembled little puff balls, and sometimes they would chase each other in the puddle before flying to catch each other in the air. They looked joyous, reveling in their good fortune to play and bathe in the sunshine.
Beauty is everywhere, and when we take the time to notice it we have positive physiological effects.
Just watching the robins, I could feel my heart rate slow from previously rushing to get home. My breath become steady, and felt a visceral sense of peace, delight, and well being, simply by slowing down and noticing the wonder, beauty, and magic of the world we belong to.
You don’t have to wait for moments like this, you can create them, and here’s how:
- Schedule it.
For most of us, we don’t naturally look for beauty randomly. So schedule it. Set a time, or a reminder for you to look out your window, or better yet get outside, with the intention of being present for beauty. I’ve had many clients that think it should just “happen” and be spontaneous, but if you’re mind isn’t already inclined to look for beauty and wonder it will require support to become an automatic habit.
- Look without trying to “see” something.
Take the pressure off. You don’t need to see something specific. Allow your eyes to wander with the attitude of appreciating the world around you. Your attitude will change how you see things, and I promise you that if you give yourself enough time, they will start to see wonder and beauty everywhere!
The more you are able to appreciate the world, yes, even the man-made one, you will see the magic of your life. Man-made stuff is pretty amazing. Everything you see around you, whether it’s an airplane, an office tower, your computer, came from someone’s idea and will to bring it into being. It’s actually pretty awe inspiring, and they were all created by people no smarter than you.
As for the natural world, notice the way the light shines, the feel of the grass under your feet, smell the air, soak it up with all of your senses and let yourself fall into the richness of it all. There’s a reason why we feel so at home in in nature. It reminds us of who WE are and that we are not only a part of the mystery of this world, we belong to it.
- Focus on how you feel.
Savour what it feels like as you bask in the moment. Feel the air on your skin. Smell the air, and sense what it feels like as it moves through your nose and into your body. Notice what emotion might be here in the moment without judgement, just feel where it lives in your body to get to know it. Feel yourself right here, connected to the earth, exactly as you are and let it be enough as it is.
- Look through new eyes.
It is not the world that needs to change to be more wondrous, magical, or beautiful: it is the eyes that view it. Beauty is everywhere and goodness is everywhere. Magic and wonder are everywhere. Most of us are used to seeing only what we look for, and have forgotten to see that we belong to something infinite, complex yet incredibly simple, breathtaking, and life affirming.
It takes practice to look for something you may not have seen before, or very often.
But I know, you have had those moments of clarity where everything feels exactly how it should be and you feel totally connected to the world around you in a profound and meaningful way. We all have, maybe not often, but we have, and if you practice the steps above you will have more of them, I know it!
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Do you believe in magic? I’d love to hear your responses below.
You are a powerful, inspiring, and incredible human being capable of changing your life, and your world…just in case you forgot!