The other day, I sat at a small cafe sipping my coffee and soaking in the atmosphere. I noted how the sunny yellow walls made the place feel vibrant, and how the light sprayed the room with a luminous shower. I admired the mahogany framed pictures of red poppies in a field. Then it hit me: my living room walls are the same warm color, and that print I’m digging also hangs in my home!
Sitting in that cozy cafe made me realize how I had stopped enjoying my surroundings, how every morning I’d saunter through my home feeling sleepy and uninspired. It’s funny how we adjust to what’s in front of us, how we stop savoring the things that once moved us. The beauty around us begins to blend into the landscape of our lives. I’m not just talking about decor, about damask prints and pendant lighting. Maybe your walls are stark white and you couldn’t care less about throw rugs or oil paintings. I, on the other hand, consider the Property Brothers the superheroes of cable television. I can marathon watch anything on HGTV or spend hours shopping for a single vase or centerpiece. But that’s just me. I have my Martha Stewart moments. Whatever excites you, chances are it won’t one day.
Here’s what will happen…
On an otherwise ordinary day, you’ll wake up and find that your spouse’s adorable half-smile is now slightly annoying. Your sweet fluffy cat is a fur-shedding flea’s nest. Your home’s open floor plan feels like a warehouse. You’ll want to slap the smirk off your sweetie’s face, fling the cat off a cliff, and put up a few walls for privacy’s sake. Or maybe it’s not that bad. I’m being dramatic. Let’s not get arrested. If you’re like me, however, the ebb and flow of your emotions will take you on one hell of a ride. You’ll have to work hard to cultivate gratitude. So here’s a three-step plan to help get you there…
3 Steps to Seeing Your World in an Amazing New Light
- Acknowledge your state of mind. Don’t let any ill emotion hold you captive. Deep breathing is a simple yet effective technique that works to stop anxious thoughts. When I shift my thinking and focus instead on breathing patterns, I stop the thought train in my mind. I busy myself with the task of filling my abdomen with air and pushing the steady stream of breath into my body. The sound, the feel, the rhythm takes over.
- Step back. Take a look at your surroundings. When I studied creative writing, one of my assignments was to notice something new wherever I went, even if I never left the house. I carried a notebook and documented everything: the way the moss hung from trees like crocheted scarves, the silky sheen on a spider’s web, the knotty speckled skin on an old man’s hands. I looked at everything as if it were new, and the experience was enlightening.
- Practice being, not doing. Some people say the most difficult pose in yoga is Corpse Pose, an exit posture that requires stillness as you rest your entire body on the mat. More than any twist, bend, or inversion, this asana is the hardest for me to hold at length. As I’m lying on my mat, my mind urges me to get up and DO, though the action here is to simply be.
However mundane your world looks, take the time today to step back, see your life with fresh eyes, and trade your doing for being. Notice how your world changes.