Who doesn't want to be in love with their life? To feel they’re making the most of each day that goes by?
Yet, most often, our daily existence feels lackluster and boring.
Like a drab stage with tired props, the same scenes end up becoming the background of our daily lives.
The concrete sidewalk beneath your feet.
The pigeons huddled on the ledge across the street.
The endless stretch of gray overhead.
They are always there, steady presences we know we will see again, and so we fail to see them at all.
I used to think I was an exception to this; that my efforts to live with awareness meant I noticed the little things in life.
I was wrong. There was still so much I was not seeing, so much that was going unnoticed.
It was the simple existence of a dandelion that unaccountably changed my life one day.
A seemingly trivial encounter.
But let me begin at the beginning...
It was a day like any other, filled with piles of paperwork, computer spreadsheets and a never-ending to-do list.
I had taken a break to let my dog out for a few moments, and as I stepped into the bright June sunlight, my face clouded over.
I was instantly annoyed and irritated.
Here was a perfectly gorgeous summer's day and I had to spend it working indoors and in front of a screen.
I scowled as I watched people walking by, their cheery voices deepening my resentment.
I shoved my hands deeper into my pockets and stood there silently fuming, smoke coming out of my ears.
I glanced down at my dog.
"Why does daily life have to be filled with so many responsibilities, Lucy?
How is anyone supposed to feel excited about their life when they have to spend most of it working and completing menial tasks?"
Lucy responded by stretching out on the grassy lawn and tilting her head up towards the sun, her eyes half-closed in the sunlight.
Then it hit me.
I was out in the sunshine too.
I was missing out on the actual moment by being upset that I couldn't be out in the sun LONGER, doing something DIFFERENT.
A brief moment of illumination.
I decided to be truly present, breathe, and notice my surroundings.
I heard a car whizzing by.
I felt the breeze on my arms.
I noticed the leaves on the tree swaying.
I looked down at my feet and saw the grass.
Then my brain went back into whining mode.
"This isn't exciting!"
"This isn't anything to take in."
"I've seen the grass and am more than familiar with the sound of cars."
I caught myself again, focused on my breath, and paused the internal dialogue.
I looked back down at my feet and noticed some dying dandelions.
My mind said: "those aren't pretty!"
Then I decided to get curious.
I picked up the shrivelled dandelion and peered closely at it.
There were no yellow petals left and the flower was on its way to turning into a billowy, white puffball.
I bent down and picked two more; one bright yellow dandelion, and the other a spherical ball of seeds.
I looked at all three carefully, trying to understand how the thin yellow petals morphed into the fluffy white seed.
What looked like a withered dead flower was really a plant en route to completing its life purpose, and releasing its progeny into the world.
I stood rapt and awestruck.
I couldn't believe the remarkable stages of change that this unappreciated weed went through. There was so much I didn't know, so many questions I had.
If I had not noticed this, a flower I'd seen countless times my entire life, what else was I not seeing? How much more awe was there to rediscover?
Since that day, years ago, I have gained countless insights as I've continued to seek out the 'mundane', and intentionally connect with the nature around me.
Connecting more deeply with nature has taught me that:
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