For artist Stephanie Medford paying attention to small miracles in her everyday is a significant part of living a meaningful, fulfilling life.
I believe it can be a significant part of living a meaningful, fulfilling life for each of us, as well.
I believe noticing small miracles can be healing. I believe it can serve as a salve for our souls. I believe it’s a powerful way to cultivate joy. It can help us to refocus when our thoughts are especially negative and especially loud. When our thoughts are fixated, again, on what’s wrong with our bodies, when they’re fixated on how we always come up short, when they’re fixated on how we’re too much or not enough. Because paying attention to small miracles reconnects us to our world—it grounds and centers us—and it even reconnects us to ourselves.
Yes, it is important to address such intrusive thoughts head-on, and to dig to the root of the issue (and resolve it). But it also helps to refocus. It helps to see the bigger picture, even in the seemingly smallest of things. It helps to get outside ourselves, to essentially get out of our heads, and notice what’s right in front of us. And sometimes if your small miracle revolves around nature, you just might see yourself reflected in its beauty, richness and diversity.
To notice small miracles, start by using your senses. Fully. Ask yourself: What do I see, smell, hear, taste and feel?
For instance, spring is a small miracle to Medford, who’s also a writer and teacher with a mission to help people who have lost touch with their creativity find their way back to their creative selves.
“…I get so much joy from watching the leaves and flowers bud and open. Every year I notice something new: This year it was the different kinds of catkins that male and female poplars put out.”
Medford also has noticed these other tiny miracles (which I think are so beautiful):
- “the scent of jasmine wafting past me on a bike ride
- the delicious magic that happens when you mix flour, water, sugar and yeast and put them in the oven
- finding a tree bent at just the right angle to make it easy to climb up and sit in it
- spotting a bird that I’ve never seen before
- reading a poem that makes you see something mundane in a whole new way
- watching someone’s face brighten when you walk in the room.”
You can make this into a game. Challenge yourself to find several small miracles every day. Get creative with how you capture them. Maybe you snap a photo. Maybe you make a sketch (regardless of your artistic ability; who cares?). Maybe you pen a poem. Maybe you text your best friend about it. Maybe you start an email thread with your family, each one of you documenting a tiny miracle every day or every week.
Maybe you do some quick research. What are those interesting flowers? What’s that tree outside my window? Why do we cry when we’re sad? Why do some people cry more easily than others? Maybe you experiment. What happens when I add a different spice or a new ingredient? What if I check out a book I normally wouldn’t pick up? What if I start rereading my favorite children’s books? What if I become mesmerized by the sky?
Or maybe you simply pause, and acknowledge the presence of this miracle, and how lucky you are to be able to witness it—how lucky you are to pause, and find solace in a rose petal, how lucky you are to see the beauty of your husband’s blue eyes, how lucky you are to read words that help you feel less alone, how lucky you are to reconnect to a meal you used to cook with your grandma, how lucky you are to finally notice something that’s been quietly and beautifully blooming, whether you ever paid attention to it or not.
What small miracles can you notice today?