Need an antidote to living a drama-filled or stressed-out life? I’ve got a few! Step outside amidst the dogwoods, irises, and tulips blooming in springtime and take in their beauty and the newness of life. Or embrace your smallness as you look up in the sky on a cloudless night at the hundreds of millions of stars in the sky. Or sit on a beach and watch the tides roll in and out and try to wrap your head around how many gallons of water are out in front of you. Or, in my case recently, watch your son stand beneath a flower-filled arch and say “I do” to the love of his life and be staggered by how fast life passes by.
The Wonder of It All
Wonder: to be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe; to marvel. (dictionary.com)
When I intentionally look around me with awe and wonder the stresses and dramas of life seem to disappear.
- I realize my smallness and the vastness of mankind.
- I allow my ego to shrink as I come to realize that it’s “just little old me” living on a planet with 7.9 billion other people.
- I’m conscious of the fact that the earth is just one big melting pot of heterogeneous humans and we’re really all in this together.
- I understand the futility of worrying and fully know that the only thing I will take with me at the end of my life are the impacts I’ve made on others, my experiences, and my relationships.
- I grasp that “this (the drama or stressor) too shall pass”
- I see that things I perceive as ordinary are really little miracles.
Problems, drama, and stress truly do take a backseat to the wonder of it all.
It’s A Wonder-filled Life
Ask my family or my friends who know me well what my all-time favorite movie is and they will be quick to tell you that it’s the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Here is my CliffsNotes version of the movie: The first half of the movie has George Bailey pining to leave his quaint hometown and move on to greater and finer things. He stays. He marries. And all is hunky-dory until the second half of the movie takes a twist with George wishing he had never been born. He’s shown what the world would be like without him in it as he lives in an alternative reality for a few hours. He sees the wonderful things that he took for granted are no longer in his life and he gets to a point where he says he wants to live again.
This movie is a reminder to me that I also take for granted the many wonderful things in my own life.
- Marrying my husband and staying committed for almost thirty years.
- Watching my children grow up, overcome challenges, and navigate adulthood.
- Walking the acreage around our cabin and seeing wildlife and the beautiful flowers.
- Planting a garden and watching the vegetables grow and ripen.
- The relationships with my friends. Knowing and appreciating that they’re “in my corner” and encourage, pray, and support me.
- The trips I’ve taken.
- The gifts and talents that the Lord has planted inside of me.
If I’m not diligent I’ll let the drama and the stressors of the world overshadow the wonders inside of and around me.
“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle. The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” ~ Albert Einstein
How to Experience Wonder
In our world of go, go, go, and more, more, more it can be difficult to see the wonders around us. It requires intentionally making “seeking wonder” a priority. Here are a few ideas to help you:
- Slow down. Are you a “volunteer-aholic”? Say no to things more often. Remember when you say “yes” to one thing you are saying “no” to another. Put your feet up every now and then. Rest. It’s good for your body, it’s good for your relationships, and it’s a good way to experience the wonders around you.
- Put your senses on high alert. See a butterfly? Really look at its wings. Spot a vee of geese in the sky? Stop and listen to their honks. Passing a playground? Listen to the laughter of the children. Taking a bite of your Pad Thai food? Savor the taste of the garlic and Siracha chili sauce. Mowing the lawn? Smell the richness of the freshly cut grass (and think summer and weekends!). Snuggling in your bed? Feel the soft sheets enveloping your body. Use your senses to see, taste, feel, smell, and hear the wonders around you.
- Unplug. Put your phone down (remember when there were only landlines?). Turn off your alerts. Have set TV hours. Walk away from the computer. Save the computer games for 1x a week. Unplug from technology so you can plug into the wonders around you.
- Reconnect. Call a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Plan a happy hour with your former coworkers. Go to dinner with those sports moms/dads from long ago. Attend the reunion. Reconnect and rekindle those relationships with people you once knew to be reminded how wonderful community is.
- Do what lights you up. Whether you like to bake, sew, workout, sing, draw, write, tell jokes, or build websites, bring more of it into your life. There’s a reason that “voodoo that you do” is inside of you. Appreciate the wonders inside of you as you do what lights you up.
- Take “Wow” Walks. Get up and get moving (but not so fast that you miss the things around you). Take a walk in the woods. In a recent blog, I shared that in Japan they call this forest bathing. Say “wow” to the beautiful things around you that you may usually take for granted. The crinkling of the leaves. The chirping of the birds. The gurgling of the water from a nearby brook. Get alone in nature and take in the wonders around you.
- Have gratitude. You’re breathing. You’ve got a mind that is able to think. You’ve got food in your cupboards and clothes on your back. You’ve met people who’ve inspired you. You’ve got friends who support you. You’ve tried and perhaps failed, but you haven’t failed to try. You’re resilient. You’ve come a long way, but still have a long way to go. You can look to the future with great expectations. Be grateful because of the wonderful things the Lord has done in your life.
Wonder of Wonders
Recently I heard someone say “wonder of wonders” as they were telling a story. Even though I’ve heard that phrase before I really didn’t know what it meant. Me, being the curious person I am, looked it up and this is what I found: A happening, an event, a pleasing circumstance, results beyond one’s wildest dream or expectation.
Sunrises and sunsets, the ocean, visiting history museums, taking a safari in Kenya (you can see my pics here), watching turtles make their way across the road, and peering up at the April “pink moon” have been a few “wonder of wonders” in my life recently. If I stopped to jot down the other wonders in my life, I’m certain they could fill a book.
I don’t want my life to be characterized by stresses, drama, and fleeting feelings of peace and joy. I want to be sensitive to things happening around me and live in wonder and awe daily. Life is too good not to.
Now it’s your turn. Questions: What are you doing to bring wonder and awe into your life? What are some things around you that make you stand in wonder?
Before I go…do you need help organizing your thoughts, controlling your mindset, initiating entrepreneurial ideas, turning your expertise into a profitable business, or just plain believing in yourself? Reach out to me! I’d love to help you.
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