“If a child is to keep his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” - Rachel Carson
Yesterday, I was driving home from my physical therapy appointment when something caught my eye. I saw a mother and daughter riding a tandem bike on the sidewalk. The daughter was about six years old, wearing a white printed dress, a helmet the color of our Southern California sky, and a scarf the color of tangerine, draped around her neck, like a superhero's cape. I also noticed it matched the flag, proudly waving high above her back tire.
What struck me the most was what the little girl was doing while her mother pedaled and negotiated every stop. She was leaning over with her right arm outstretched so that she could touch the leaves of the plants lining the sidewalk. The border of the sidewalk was thick and lush with large, dark green leaves. Even from my Jeep, I could hear the sound of her small, open hand slapping against the leaves as if giving them high fives as she rode by. I imagined the plants seemed just as happy to return the favor, like athletes lined up to congratulate their opponents after a game.
With all the uncertainty and unrest in the world today, this sight reminded me of two things. Firstly, joy, beauty, and magic still exist. In fact, I was so happy to witness this exchange between a child and nature that I felt compelled to take a picture. Secondly, we must not lose our sense of wonder no matter how difficult life can get. I wasn’t able to capture her slapping hands with the plants, but I got a closer glimpse of this curious, little girl. After all, it was her curiosity that sparked my own.
This scenario showed me that there is joy and wonder all around us. We just have to open our eyes and be present to notice. In other words, to witness magic, you have to be present to see it, right?
When you cultivate the aloha spirit, you are more in tune with your surroundings and carry yourself in a way that creates harmony with others and nature. Just by carrying love, kindness, compassion, and peace in your heart, you project more positive vibes into the world. It is by radiating this positivity that you create harmony. You are also more present with the world and able to find peace, love, joy, and wonder in every experience.
The true magic and mystery of life lie in nature. Children know it and are easily drawn to it. In fact, they naturally seek to explore it. Their innocence and pure hearts allow them to be more open and present with the world around us. However, as adults, we tend to allow our life experiences and challenges bog us down to the point that we take nature for granted and forget its ability to cast a magic spell over us.
No matter what is going on in this little girl's life, no matter what challenges her family might be facing, spending time with her mother and being outdoors sparked a natural desire within her to communicate with the world around her. If you could have seen how far she was leaning over, you would understand that she just had to feel those plants. She just had to know what it would feel like and sound like to press her palm into theirs.
Children are always seeking to communicate with nature and discover its magic. They love to feel the grass beneath their bare feet or wiggle their toes in the beach sand. They get excited to jump the ocean waves and find seashells at the shore. They stare in amazement at the tiny legs of a caterpillar marching along their fingers. They count the spots on the back of a Ladybug while cupping it in their hands. Their smiles sweep across their faces when a butterfly grazes their ears. And, their eyes widen with wonder as a rainbow stretches its colors across the sky after a late-afternoon shower.
If we are to rediscover the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in, we need to stop looking down and start looking up. You can’t witness magic if you are not present to see it. To connect with the world, we must be more present in the world without the use of technology when possible.
In other words, there's a time and a place for you to lead with your head and follow with your heart. But to experience more peace and joy in your life, you must lead with your heart sometimes. If you cultivate love, kindness, and compassion, your heart will guide you in all the right directions and help you rediscover the beauty in everyday living. Therefore, everyone could benefit from unplugging from our phones and plugging into nature more.
While kids need unstructured free time to play outdoors, so do adults. Of course, it can be tempting to stay indoors, comfortable and cozy on our couches, favorite lounge chairs, or even beds where we are undoubtedly still tethered to a technical device. But, we need to learn to step away from our computers, tablets, TV’s, and phones, where life can sometimes bog us down with negativity, and move toward the beauty that’s right outside our doors. Of course, technology allows us to stay connected with our loved ones. But, we would also benefit from staying connected to Mother Nature.
You don’t have to visit the eight wonders of the world to appreciate the beauty and magic that surrounds us. You can escape your reality for a few moments and immerse yourself into a whole new world by just stepping outside. There is a whole world out there waiting to be noticed.
Being in nature can make you feel connected to something so much larger than yourself. Nature reminds us that the world is so much bigger than we think and that we are just one small part of it. Therefore, the petty things we might fight about or that we let bring us down are so small in comparison to the wonders of the world around us.
Don’t lose sight of the beauty that still exists in the world. Whether it is in the giggle of a child, a random act of kindness from a stranger, the caress of a light breeze while sipping coffee on your back deck, or the sounds of baby birds chirping from their nest outside your window, let the beauty that surrounds you remind you how wonderful our world can still be.
Look for the joy and wonder everywhere you go today, my Pineapple.
Live, Love, and Lead with Aloha.