It has been a somewhat crazy start to the year and I have been feeling overcooked and unable to see or feel wonder on a scale that I thought mattered. Tired to the point of not caring any more. There have definitely been very few a-ha moments! Work has been nuts and I had been trying to take leave since about September last year, but it never quite happened. So as soon as the dust settled in February I checked out for a couple of weeks and took myself off to the South Coast. The seaside has always been soothing for me, and I hoped it would work its magic again.
A daytrip out to a place called Green Cape lighthouse while I was away seemed to do the trick. The crash and surge of the ocean was hypnotic and soothing just as I had hoped, and the wildness of the wind seemed to wrap itself around me. I felt more relaxed then than I have in a very long while. I was surrounded by chaos, and it made me wonder at the power of nature, and at the early sailors that decided that it would be a good idea to be out on wooden ships in it years ago. How could I feel like I was in a secure cocoon when my hair was being whipped around my face in all directions? It was like a moment of stillness and meditation while everything around me was going wild. Ahhhhh!
I also felt wonder when I was driving home through the canopy of lush rain forest — completely enveloped by damp redolent air, glowing greenery and just the right music. In this instance, Mark Knopfler’s solo catalogue. Soothing, folksy, bluesy, easy. In that perfect moment as I swayed through the rhythmic curves of the mountain road, I wondered as I felt a visceral sensation of peace flow through me. How can a bunch of random external circumstances provoke such a profound physical reaction?
There have been other small pops of wonder along the way: the way my kids still want a hug, even though they are young men. The way Francis knows when to brumate even though he lives inside and doesn’t experience the temperature shifts of the seasons outside. The way my fiddle leaf fig sprouted huge new leaves within a couple of days. The way the clouds look like Simpsons cartoon clouds scooting past when I look out the window at work. Tiny, inconsequential things, barely worth writing about.
Sitting alongside the frenetic pace of life, there are some seriously dark and messed up things going on in this world. I find it so easy to get drawn into the vortex and feel utter helplessness and hopelessness. These seemingly tiny moments of wonder are my beacon, my life raft. The things that remind me that there are still beautiful things to be noticed and appreciated. But is that all there is or can I experience more substantial moments of wonder on a regular basis…not just when I am on holidays and out of routine?
At the moment, for me, it is a challenge to see and acknowledge wonder, and life is not slowing down anytime soon! Taking time out to notice the small stuff presents as a luxury that I cannot seem to make room for. In reality I think it is probably a necessity that I must make time for. It is a challenge, but then I wouldn’t have chosen this focus for the year if it wasn’t something that I need to work on.
So how? Some mindfulness exercises perhaps? Broaden the scope of my gratitude journalling? What would you prescribe?