When I was in my early twenties I developed a close friendship with the boxing champion, Julio César Chávez. We became good friends and I was part of his entourage, with no particular role other than, as he said, “I feel good when you’re around.”
During preparation for a very important bout, his trainer came to me concerned. Julio, he explained, wasn’t training the way he should. I looked at him, puzzled. Each day I watched Julio get up, run several miles, do an insane number of sit-ups, and spar many rounds – all the things that boxers were supposed to do to prepare for a big fight. What was I missing? His trainer agreed, he was doing all of those things, but it was the way he was doing them that was the problem … he was just going through the motions. “He needs to train like it’s the first time, not like something he’s done all his life.”
I have a point to make about this and how it pertains to our lives. But first I want to share another short story.
This morning I woke up with the thought for this blog post in my head. As I started to share the boxing story with my wife, she interrupted me and said, “Yeah, exactly, it’s just like one time in college when I was training for volleyball …” I smiled, because that is the point.
This is what we do, day in and day out. We make up the meaning of the day’s events by equating them to something out of our past. We look at something new, an event we have never witnessed before, something totally unknown to us, and then we say, just like my wife did, “I know this. It’s just like that time when …” And in that instant all the magic is gone because we’ve been there, and done that, many times before.
Yesterday I was sitting in my kitchen eating lunch. I wasn’t paying much attention to my food, just eating lunch like I had 365 times each year for 41 years. I dropped something on the floor and my dogs got into a fight over the fallen food morsel. It was a loud, dramatic squabble, the way dogs do. I grabbed them both, separated them and, without thinking, yelled, “You’re acting like you’ve never eaten before!” They were, and that’s beautiful.
So after playing peacekeeper, I sat back down to my lunch. Only this time I was there, present in the moment. I imagined I was my dog, ecstatic to have a meal. I looked at the ingredients – quinoa, carrots, potatoes, vegetable broth. I visualized my cells being nurtured by the nutrients the food carried. I really enjoyed the meal.
I made that my intention for the week – to be present. And I invite you to join me. Each and every time you find yourself thinking, “Been there, done that, how boring,” stop. Close your eyes for a moment and when you reopen them see the situation through virgin eyes. Allow yourself to be wowed by life. Fall in love with the miracle of all that’s around you.
Don’t just kiss your spouse. Be the sensation of two lips touching. Be the sigh that rises in your soul, experience the beat of your heart as it feels the love, dance with your senses like you did the first time you kissed.
At work, resist the urge to go through the motions of your job. Be the new guy or gal for a day. Reacquaint yourself with the wonder of your day. Answer the phone with the excited anticipation of a child with their first cell phone. See those around you as your teachers … what can you learn today?
When you start your car, rev the engine a bit. Switch on the windshield wipers and watch them go back and forth like that song we used to sing as kids about the school bus. Honk the horn a few times. This is your car. This was your dream when you were 15. Enjoy it.
When you’re eating, savor the food. Pay attention to the ingredients. Imagine what job they are performing in your body. If you have areas of illness, visualize them being tenderly nurtured by the nutrients you are consuming. Allow your taste buds to celebrate with the flavors.
And finally as you wind down from the day, lay your head on the pillow. Experience the blessing of a warm place to sleep. Close your eyes and experience objectless gratitude – the feeling of giving thanks, just because. As the thoughts of your day drift away, maintain this state of grace.
Feel the love and warmth that come from being present.
This is the gift we can give ourselves this week. The gift of childlike wonder and amazement at the beauty of the universe. Allow yourself the opportunity to fully embrace the magic of your days and nights. And let boredom turn to joy as you delight in the wonder that is life … our lives.
Big hugs of love,
Photo lovingly shared by Yvonne Cornell http://www.followingbreadcrumbs.com/