Happy Thursday everyone! Today’s truth hit me like a ton of bricks several days ago. I was on the subway when an excited 3 year old boarded with her parents. She was looking around her, at the people, at the lights, at the sights, at the sounds, and there was a giant grin on her face.
“Is this her first time riding the subway?” I asked.
“No! We do this every morning!” her mother replied.
Every morning…And yet, here she was, viewing the subway ride with this sense of awe, wonder, and excitement.
Such a chilling contrast to the others on the subway (maybe even myself) who looked like we were tired, bored, less than enthused, and dull.
Somewhere along the way, we lose our childlike wonder. We lose the ability to look around the world with great appreciation. We lose the ability to see things we’ve seen before with awe and wonder, the way that child did.
As children, EVERYTHING is new. We are little input machines, taking in the world like a sponge. As time goes on, the values and beliefs of our environment seem to solidify and crystallize within us. Rather than ask questions, we slowly learn to accept things as they are. Rather than experience awe in the here and now, we move from one task to another, in a series of chore-like daily activities.
-Wake up, brush teeth, have breakfast, get dressed, go to work, work, have lunch, work more, come home, make dinner, go to bed. Routine, repeat…and yet we really miss out on the wonder all around us.
Children are taught to accept and believe. When I say we “lose the ability”, I really mean it: looking at the world with child like wonder is a skill, an ability, one we know naturally when we’re born, and lose as time passes. But we can learn the ability once again…and I think the key to doing it, is mindfulness.
Look around you right now. Where are you? What do you see? What do you smell? What do you feel? Now pause on the fact that you can even experience these things. Maybe you’re in an office reading this: take a moment to listen to the sounds of people coming and going, each person a busy little ant in a busy world. What hopes and dreams do these people have?
Or maybe you’re at home. It’s quiet. There’s the slight sound of a hum in the air. Maybe the sun is coming through the window. Maybe it’s raining. Pause. Let your senses fill you up. You can see, smell, hear, touch, taste. Five different avenues to explore the world with childlike wonder.
Take a moment to pause now. Explore the world for 5 minutes with your senses. The world hasn’t changed nearly as much as we have. There is so much beauty and wonder to experience. We just need to look at the world through our childhood lenses.
Reclaim your childhood. Experience the world with child-like wonder and awe.
Next Thursday, I will talk about how the world shapes our perspectives and philosophies…and how keeping an open mind can be a tool for experiencing life with child-like wonder.