I recently saw a video where a man was given a gift of being able to see “in color” for the first time. The gift was a pair of specialty glasses that enabled him to see things in a whole new way, like never before. The sheer amazement, excitement and wonder that showed on his face, in his body language and in his words was palpable. He was a grown man, so that made it even more interesting to me. We often see children light up when they experience their “firsts.” Their precious innocence reminds us of complete joy found in such moments. It ignites something in each of us when we see this display of discovery. Perhaps it reminds us of a few ecstatic moments we have had in our lives. It certainly is a feeling we all want to experience more often.
So how can we, as adults, have this sense of discovery for ourselves? There is so much around us, all the time, that we are unaware of or that we simply take for granted. There are even more subtle things, all around, that we can’t even see with normal vision: radio waves, infrared, ultraviolet light, high and low audio frequencies. We know these things exist but don’t know the true wonder they provide until we have a need for them or “discover” them. There, also, are the obvious things that we know we haven’t tried, done, tasted, touched, seen or smelled.
Experience is a wonderful thing, but sometimes you need a new perspective. — Elaine Taylor
How would your life look if you did a little mental exercise for a moment, a day or a week? Experiment by waking up and seeing things as though it was for the first time. Look at your spouse lying next to you. What do you notice? Do you notice breathing, snoring, twitching, movement? What about the warmth of being close to someone else? When you get up, notice what it’s like to actually put one foot in front of the other, stretch, yawn, breathe. Pay close attention to how your body expands and loosens. See the wonder in the steps you take as you make your way to the bathroom to get ready for your day. Really notice the taste of your toothpaste, or the way your toothbrush feels on your teeth. How do these textures affect you?
As you continue in your day, look at your children or pets with new eyes. What quirks or individual characteristics do you witness? How is your house arranged? What is in it? Remember how it felt when you found an item that you liked enough to include in your personal space? See it for the first time again. As you step outside, what brilliance comes to life in the color of the trees, flowers, grass, houses, cars? What was the initial feeling when you first sat behind the wheel of a car, drove it down the driveway and onto the road? Let this new way of looking at something familiar wake your senses up!
When you listen to others tell their story, really witness how they describe what they are saying. When you hear something that makes you laugh—really laugh—notice the sensation in your body, and the lighthearted spirit in your being. Hear as though you were hearing sound for the first time. Notice the tone, inflection and sincerity in what is being shared. Don’t be distracted by anything else. Zero in and see what it feels like to really witness another person.
By now, you probably are getting the general idea of Living Like New. It’s good to pause and take a mental inventory of how we are viewing what is around us and how it connects us to ourselves, our lives and to others. Pay attention to the five senses in all that you do—just for a little while, on occasion. Your life will seem more colorful, maybe even bold or brilliant. Work to not take these things for granted—which is so easy to do with something familiar.
Life is large with its energy, first moments of excitement, fear and newness. It is also quiet, calm and small with its intimacy and nuances. Give feedback and write about what you gain from this practice. Remember to “Live Like New” throughout your life and daily encounters.
New things are made familiar and familiar things are made new. — Samuel Johnson