Why we should start noticing the small things again
A hundred amazing things happened to you today even before you finished your first cup of coffee. They were the little things that many of us take for granted because we are so used to their presence.
For starters, you woke up today. You were granted another day to figure out this thing called life. How many of us begin the morning by feeling grateful? Not many.
At the first blush of day, the birds serenaded you by your window with their chorus. The orange and red glow of dawn spread out across the horizon while you put your pillow over your head and wished for more sleep.
Then your routine sets in and you go through the steps without a second thought. We all run most of our day by autopilot where we go through the motions and forget what even happened. We missed it all.
When you run on autopilot mode, like most of us do, you miss all the simple things that could have had a major role in your happiness.
How would our lives change if we noticed and celebrated the small things?
Returning to that Sense of Wonder
Our children are often our greatest teachers of wonder. They experiment and investigate so much that we have to continually improve on our child-proofing.
Kids make the most of every single puddle and jump right in. They make toys out of anything and everything.
When is it that we lose that sense of wonder? Maybe you were like me and it was lost when someone told you to stop messing around when you were actually discovering.
“For most of us, knowledge of our world comes largely through sight, yet we look about with such unseeing eyes that we are partially blind. One way to open your eyes to unnoticed beauty is to ask yourself, ‘What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?’”
― Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder
When my daughter was a toddler, she was amazed when the leaves fell and danced in the wind.
The first time I really took note of this celebration, it actually seemed straight out of a movie.
My daughter and I were at a crowded playground long before COVID. She was still learning how to walk so she was very busy toddling around as if each of her legs had a mind of its own.
Then she stopped in her tracks and gasped while a big gust of wind launched dozens of leaves into the air.
I could almost hear the Shawshank Redemption soundtrack playing in the background as my daughter raised her outstretched arms in the air and rejoiced.
The falling leaves resembled a flock of birds drifting in unison before slowly floating down to the ground around her.
Nature, in all of its magnificence, gave us a beautiful show and my daughter was the only one to truly appreciate it. Not a single person there knew it even happened.
When I think about this memory, I think about the importance of rejoicing the small things.
Maybe this lockdown was helpful for you to remember that it is okay to slow down. Maybe you spent more time practicing the art of being present.
Returning to that sense of wonder is witnessing something as if you are seeing it for the first time. Even when the leaves are blowing in the wind.
When I was young, I often gazed at the stars above me and pondered if I was looking straight into heaven. Looking into the infinite night sky, I often contemplated the mysteries of the Universe.
When I became an adult, I stopped looking at the stars. Life stopped being about discovery and more about responsibility.
Perhaps tonight I will gaze at the stars and feel more connected to who I truly am.