When we were kids, we experienced everything for the first time. I remember the moment when I rode my first bike and the first time I touched a frog. As we got older and gained more experiences, we fell into patterns and routines, and fewer things surprised us. Been there, done that. We even began to assume that we knew an experience before taking the opportunity trying it. Part of this may be due to fear, or it may be the acquired knowledge that shaped our thinking to assume we already know it all. Part of it may be that as we grew up and saw more, we started to shift into this autopilot mode, and we forgot be curious, to inquire, to feel. But just like any other skills, curiosity and inquiry must be practiced, or they quickly become forgotten.
Last week I made a very conscious effort to slow down, observe the world around me, and find awe in something every day. It started at the beginning of the week one night when Andy called me outside to look at a firefly. I had never seen a firefly in my life! So we ran outside barefoot and tip toed around the grass in the dark trying to get my eyes to adjust. All of a sudden, I saw a flicker of light about 20 feet away. Stopping in my tracks, I felt a sense of wonder. I couldn’t remember the last time I had experienced something so simple yet so remarkable. I was amazed to be 29 and experiencing another “first”.
The next day I taught a yoga class at Barton Springs. We started off with an open-eyed meditation, lying on our backs and looking up at the trees. As I watched the leaves rustle in the wind, I was overcome with peace and infinite gratitude for the beauty around me. I realized that I need to look up more. When our class finished, I noticed a flicker of light out of the corner of my eye. Then there was another. Suddenly, the entire field began to light up with fireflies! I opened my hand and caught one. And for a few minutes, it just crawled around my palm flickering its light. This experience woke me up to all that we miss when we get caught up with trivial things in life. How many times have fireflies flown around me without my noticing? I set an intention right then and there to be more aware, to wonder, and to be in awe.
When we were born, we were perfect. Babies are absolutely perfect because society doesn’t have any expectations of them, nor do they have any expectations of themselves. They do what they feel like, they let their emotions flow, and they thrive on love and compassion. They also look at the world with big eyes full of wonder and amazement. To them, everything is a miracle. Then somewhere along the way life happens, they grow up, and this sense of wonder diminishes. I may be an adult now, but I believe there is still a kid’s perspective somewhere in me. I want to tap into that pure, innocent, and clear voice within. This requires shedding the layers of expectation, criticism, fear, and knowing it all. This requires presence, and the ability to just be. This means choosing to view the world and myself as a miracle. This means keeping an open mind and open heart to create space for more “firsts”.
Take 5 minutes each day to find awe and inspiration around you. You never know, your curiosity and inquiry may attract the light of an entire field of fireflies