I love to quote Abraham Joshua Heschel who said, “Life is routine, and routine is resistance to wonder.”
When we’re babies and kids, everything is like new and captures our attention, but over time we become habituated to life and lose out on the wonder if it all.
The Now Effect says, “The way you wake up in the morning, do your work, eat your food, interact with your digital devices and engage with friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances and strangers over time all become routine. Our brains ability to make things automatic enables us to function, but when life itself becomes routine, we miss out on the choices, possibilities and wonders all around us.”
How about the fact that we can see color and not just black and white? Or what about the multitude of different sounds, tastes and aromas that are out there? When we really take a moment to ponder and pay attention to all of these senses, it’s not only amazing, but quite a miracle. Now, that may sound impressive, but how do we really get down to more practical matters?
Note: If any judgments arise (e.g., “paying attention to my senses – that’s a waste of time” or “this will never help me” or “this is too simple to matter”), just notice them as habits of the mind that have been with you for quite some time, let them be, and then come back to reading.
Here are 9 things you can do today to break out of your daily routine and get back in touch with the wonder of life:
- Waking up in the morning saying “breathing in, I calm my body, breathing out, every cell of my body is alive.” Do this a few times with each in and out breath
- When taking a shower, notice if your mind is already at work, bring it back to noticing the sensations of the water on your body or the smell of the soap. How amazing that we can smell at all.
- When eating your meals during the day, pay attention to the tastes for a moment and consider all the people (including yourself) who have worked hard to get that food to your table today. Consider the fact that it took rain, soil and sunshine to create this as well. All of this is within your food.
- Drive to work a bit slower today, use red lights as opportunities to just breathe. Be aware that this breath just happens autonomously without your awareness most of the day and is essential for living.
- While at work, try and see your co-workers as people with their own struggles and triumphs trying to do the best they can in this life.
- Throughout the day, if possible, send those who are struggling wishes of kindness. For example hold them in your mind and say, “May you be happy, May you be healthy, May you be free from fear, May you be safe.” If judgments arise around this, again, notice them as habits and know that wishing people well is an act that ultimately is a path toward healing yourself.
- Driving home, reflect back on your day, what went well, what would you wish you would have done differently. Breathe in and breathe out.
- Before stepping in the door, if you have family, take a moment to consider how you would like “to be” with your family this evening. Maybe you can set the intention for being present and kind, less reactive. Breathe in, breathe out.
- As you lay your bed on your pillow, look back on the day and ask yourself, “Where was wonder today?” If you are someone with a religious or spiritual inclination, you may ask “Where was God in my day today?”
Try these out and notice what comes up for you. Don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself and trust your experience.
As always, please share your thoughts, stories, and questions below. Your interactions here provide a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.