Discover REAL Joy with Wide-awake Eyes
“Together again for the first time” was a phrase my Dad often uttered when I was growing up. It’s what I like to call a classic Ken-icism. It ranked right up there with his other favorite sayings (some of which he borrowed, of course), like “Even the longest journey begins with but a single step,” “Don’t ride the night train,” and “Never give up that ship!”
As a child, I would look at him quizzically when he threw these zingers into our conversations. In all honesty, I found them rather obscure at the time (I am quite certain I rolled my eyes many times in response, a trait that my Dad still likes to remind me was part of my girlish charm up until I was about 20, lol). Thanks to the natural course of life experience and maturation, however, I gradually came to understand the subtle messages and life lessons that my Dad was trying to impart to me when he shared those profound truisms. He was, in fact, spilling some very REAL tea.
“Together again for the first time”
Have you ever been in the midst of spending time with someone that you have loved and known for what seems like forever, and in a particular moment’s interaction the experience is so unlike any that the two of you have previously shared that it seems as though you are just meeting him or her for the first time?
Have you ever looked at a face that you have stared at and talked to for years, and been eerily struck with the strange sense that you are seeing the person staring back at you for REAL, in a new way, and for the first time? Stand in front of your bathroom mirror and stare into your own eyes for one full minute, and you will understand exactly what I mean.
The REAL tea is that in every moment, we are together again for the first time. Whether we are talking about being together with ourselves, together with others, or together with our universe, each and every experience is new and fresh. If you read my posts regularly, you and I are together again for the first time right now as you are digesting this message. You are again sharing your time and attention with me, and I am again sharing my thoughts with you, yet we are sharing these things with one another in a new way, on a new day, about a new topic. If you make the choice to reread this message at a different time tomorrow, we will be together again for the first time in that new and fresh moment (another first…yet again!). REAL deep, right? Indeed.
New Present Moments = New Prospects
Each moment is filled with new potential promise, and each day holds fresh possibilities for new experiences. In some moments and on some days, new promise and fresh possibility make dramatic entrances in the form of a visit to a new place, or an introduction to a new friend, or an attempt at a new activity, or an unexpected happening. In the majority of our moments and days, however, new promise and ripe possibility manifest themselves much more subtly. They hide under what we might otherwise perceive as the usual mundane circumstances, routines, faces, and places that make up our lives. Unless we are awake and aware enough to notice them, they will sadly remain undiscovered.
The happy news is that everything it takes to uncover the quiet and well-disguised miracles and joys that the universe sprinkles along our path is conveniently captured in one word: DECISION. The REAL tea is that each of us is born with the power to decide and to choose. We create our own REALity. Although we live in a world that in many ways attempts to convince us that we are trapped and helpless, the REAL truth is that we have the freedom to see what we want to see.
With wide-awake awareness, we can intentionally look at people, places, events, and experiences with lenses that are designed to blur out the ordinary and the obvious, and spotlight the extraordinary and the magical. We have the power to exercise our freedom and choose to be together again with all that we typically encounter, but for the first REAL time.
Look through a Lens of REAL Wonderment
Make the decision to be a mindful treasure tracker. Gaze through the lens of wonderment. Recognize the world’s magic and vitality. Choose to look at the people, places, and things you see as if you are a child discovering those elements for the first time. Let go of your existing ideas and perceptions, and decide to be a curious kid again.
Sense that even the ground you walk on is alive. Pay fresh attention to the well-worn paths you walk and drive each day. Notice and appreciate the surfaces that support you when you travel, and look for new and previously overlooked aspects of the routes you take (whether it be the route from your bedroom to your kitchen, or the one from your home to your grocery store).
Awaken to the colors, textures, aromas, and tastes that you regularly encounter yet rarely acknowledge or enjoy. Look intensely at the friends, family members, and neighbors with whom you routinely interact. Examine the contours of their faces, notice the color of their eyes, and search for the emotion in their expressions and words. Gaze in awe at their uniqueness. Admire the quirks that make them individuals.
Be on the hunt for smiling faces and hearty laughter wherever you roam, and listen intently for the background music that plays throughout the routine scenes of your life. Take intentional pauses to feel and absorb the good energy that is emitted from those joyful sights and sounds. There is nothing like the sweet frequency of free-spirited giggling to uplift your vibration, (whether the gigglers are young or old, friends or strangers). There is nothing like the melodic music that your moments harmoniously move to (whether it plays through instruments and radio, through breezes and birds, or through the voices of your loved ones).
“The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, incredibly magnificent world in itself.” ~ Henry Miller.
Recognize the wonderful intricacies of the stage scenery and theme music that beautifully backdrop your daily script, and be together and in love with your life for the first REAL time.
View through a Lens of REAL Celebration
Make the decision to be on a perpetual party pursuit. Search for reasons to celebrate being alive, no matter how minute the excuses.
Visualize balloons and confetti springing into the air whenever you witness a morning sunrise, sip a cup of perfectly-brewed tea or coffee, stand in the comforting stream of a hot shower, get good and sweaty from a vigorous work-out, or find a quiet solitary moment to breathe. Turn up your internal (or external!) music and blow your figurative kazoo whenever you have a productive conversation, discover the solution to a challenge, receive a compliment, see a loved one smile, or spot a colorful bird flying across your path.
Mindfully slip on your humor hat, and decide to take life less seriously. Lighten up! Recognize that there is something to celebrate and laugh about in each moment, situation, place, and interaction. Let’s face it, life can be absurd and ridiculous at times (actually…a lot of the time). If we can’t allow ourselves the room to revel a bit in the mysterious silliness that exists in the world, we will be lost. Looking for the irony and the entertainment factor in any given situation will help you maintain REAL perspective.
Comic relief can be used to draw a silver lining around even the darkest of clouds. Have you ever been at a viewing or a funeral wake, and found yourself laughing with fellow attendees as you together reminisce over funny stories about the person who has passed? The best memories are typically laced with humor.
I am not suggesting that you make a joke out of the more profound experiences that you will inevitably face, or that you act like a clown 24/7. It is vital, however, to avoid weighing your vibration and energy down with the heaviness that comes from taking anything (including yourself) too seriously. We could all use a healthy and harmless dose of irreverence and carefree resolve to balance out our experience. LIFE IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN!!!!
Decide to acknowledge and rejoice in your small daily victories.
Laugh as often as you can.
Celebrate the relationships you are cultivating (including the one you have with yourself).
Glorify the seemingly ordinary interactions you have with others and with the universe, with awareness that they each hold a specific purpose and blessing.
REAL love and joy are baked into the familiar folds of our lives. Find them. Drape streamers from them. Tie ribbons around them. Live life with a “Last Hurrah” mentality (because for all you know, today could be yours).
Find Your REAL Voice
Make the decision to mindfully share AND SPEAK your truth. Tell others about the wonders and causes for celebration that you are discovering in your days and life. Shout it from the rooftops!!
It is not enough to see through a new lens of love, wonder, and celebration. You must give your new visions and insights a loud and commanding voice. Speak out loud and in detail about the hidden treasures you detect through your new lenses. Vividly describe what you see and find, to yourself. Clearly express it to others as well. Spread the word with clarity, intention, and enthusiasm.
Words are powerful, and they bring thoughts to life. Think about how some of the words that people have spoken to you in the past have taken hold (sometimes for the better, many times for the worse). Saying words out loud is like casting a spell. Tell others about the evidence of simplistic amazingness, beauty, and inspiration you see and notice, and watch magic weaved as the positive ideas and visions take hold.
Talk about it. Text about it. Snapchat about it. Post your new sightings and thoughts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Email messages about it. Lead the way by boldly sharing what you see when you decide to wake up for REAL. When you are together again, make each moment, occasion, and meeting fresh and new by sharing your stories about the wonderment and celebration you are experiencing. You have the power to shift the collective energy of your community simply by pointing out the promise and potential you are finding in your daily routines. Your words may inspire others to give it a whirl, and that could be a REAL gamechanger.
In the last 36 hours, the universe has inundated me with reminders about the impermanence and unpredictability of life. Two nights ago, I received a text from one of my best friends, relaying that her dad had gone into cardiac arrest and is currently on life support. Yesterday morning, my daughter told me about a high school classmate who tragically lost his young father last week. Yesterday afternoon, I learned that a new acquaintance and good friend of my cousin sadly passed away at the age of 60 after a heroic battle with pancreatic cancer.
It is difficult to find inspirational sentiments when we are in the midst of grief and struggle. Let’s be REAL – illness and loss SUCK. Big time.
Yet even in the sucky moments and circumstances that surround challenging events like these, there is REAL promise and potential. Hidden in the sadness and mourning that will naturally be experienced, there is deep clarity to be gained about the preciousness of life and the value in intentionally living our days with full awareness of the wonder, celebration, and truth that is ours for the taking.
I would be willing to wager that each of the three people I reference above would be thrilled to have just one more moment in which they could discover and experience the small miracles and joys that were once a part of the “ordinary” paths they walked. If we had the opportunity to ask them for REAL words of wisdom, I imagine they would say something like,
“Fall in love with your life, as many times as you can. Start paying attention and begin to look for the magic in your everyday moments and situations. Decide to do this as you move forward, remembering that even the longest journey begins with but a single step. Walk your path with awareness, love, and gratitude for the small and simple treasures. Don’t ride the night train and live in a constant state of worry and doubt – life is too short to waste energy on fear-based thoughts. There is wonder and cause for celebration all around you, so make it your business to find it. Laugh often. Remember that you will always find guidance and love within the universe, within your relationships, and within yourself. Take heart, and never give up that ship! All is well. Soon we will be together again for the first time.”
Blessed are we who still have the present moment to notice and appreciate the promise, potential, and love that hide in the weeds that grow on our perfectly imperfect paths. Blessed are we who have the power to wake up and spot the tiny flowers budding amidst the tall grass blades.
And that, my friends, is the REAL tea.