As children we saw wonder in so many everyday things. We viewed the world through curious eyes and we were present and playful, with frequent moments of pleasure and joy. We played. We explored. We could experience a deeply stressful event and somehow have the resilience to bounce back into moments of wonder in a heartbeat. Why did we let this fade away?
As adults, our default mode is to seek out stressors and attach to them. We waste time finding fault with ourselves and others, constantly judging and overthinking situations (often when they're out of our control anyway!), and we approach our lives with a more intellectual and analytical viewpoint. We are less forgiving, more attached to nonsense and unhelpful thought patterns, and we seem to take on an awful lot of pressure. We’ve been conditioned to live this way, through no fault of our own really. But, you have control over so much more than you've been led to believe. The good news is that you can undo this conditioning, and reprogram your thinking mind to be less stressed and more present, curious and joyful.
I’ve realised through my work, that most people living in a state of chronic stress don’t realise it, and those that do think it’s “just normal”. It really doesn't have to be this way, and it's not setting you up for a healthy future! You can choose to reconnect with that childhood wonder and practice mindfulness techniques to keep you attuned to it. You’ll then begin to live more like a human ‘being’ and less like a human ‘doing’. This will no doubt increase feelings of wellbeing, and your health and vitality will improve drastically. I'm of the belief that we've been sold a story of how our lives should be. We seek perfection and that picture perfect, social media worthy lifestyle. We have fallen into the trap of consumerism, chasing, grasping and always wanting more. This mindset and way of life never gets you any further forward. It stops you from evolving and expanding your awareness and consciousness. It dulls the spark inside you and shuts away your spirit and that inner child that wants to play! It never ends, that wanting and chasing, and you'll find that once you get the things you wanted, it still won't be enough. Because you'll keep wanting something more, something else, something better. The time is now, and if you really want to make the most of your life and all the detail that often passes you by, start today.
Next time you go for a wander, seek out the wonder. Set time aside on your walk to connect with nature. Pause. Close your eyes. Take long, slow, deep breaths, making the exhale longer than the inhale. This will gently take you out of a stressful state, or that ‘on-the-go’ state, and put you in better control of your thoughts and feelings. Relax your shoulders, soften your jaw, tune into to all your senses and welcome stillness. Take the time to do this. Rushing it will send the wrong signals to your brain. Embrace that stillness and allow life to move around you. This will help you to access the doorway to wonderment. Wonderment is a state of awe. It is the pleasure and curiousness of nature and the tears of joy I’ve cried when I’m caught in the embrace of presence. Once you truly learn the art of mindfulness, you can start to live your life with more presence, joy and wonder. It takes commitment and practice, and then it becomes a habit. Just like working out a muscle to build strength or learning a new skill, it can become part of you. Just like it was when you were a child.
After you’ve let go of the tension and the body is more relaxed and open, start to notice all the intricacies of nature. Then see if you can ‘tune in’ to the energy and flow of life on Earth. Stare at a river and immerse your attention in its flow. Pick up a leaf and see how it feels against your finger tips. Notice it’s entire structure, and think about how that came from nothing, how it grew into what you see before you. Recognise it has a journey all of its own. How beautiful and wonderful are flowers? Breathe in their aromas and appreciate their delicate petals and pretty colours. Close your eyes and listen out for the sounds from animals and see if you can guess what they are. Take this practice as far as you like. There are no rules, no boundaries and no limits. Once you learn to do this in the vastness of nature, you will start to do this naturally during the busy and more challenging times of your life. All it takes is that pause. Catch yourself before the stressor or the drama gets hold of you. It is really empowering and you'll find that you can only more forward with this new mindset. You'll begin to view your life through a whole new lens.
When you realise the impermanence and imperfections of nature, the colours and sounds, the gentle breeze and rustle of the trees, the movement and the stillness happening at the same time, you’ll arrive home.
Are you fortunate enough to have the ability to evolve and open up spiritually and emotionally? We are not here to hide behind a screen, work too hard and never play, whilst dwelling in the negativity of the world. If you have the freedom and opportunities to live fully, then why not do it? This is a choice in every waking moment. Some are much less fortunate, and it’s a shame to not live out your life to its fullest potential. There is endless, wonderful, wondrous, wonderment in each and every day. And it can be such a joy being human! We get to feel on such deep and meaningful levels.
If you struggle with your mental health and feel that this holds you back from practicing mindfulness and developing your spiritual path, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. Extra help, advice and support can be found here