Last Friday, my husband Chris and I went to see our friend, Cantor Juval Porat lead the Hanukkah Shabbat Service at the Beth Chayim Chadashim synagogue in Los Angeles. This is becoming a new tradition for our family. I attended last year and was so generously welcomed by the members of the community and felt so inspired by the music and traditions that I knew I'd be coming back. Though we're not Jewish, the people of BCC always make us feel like we're family.
At the service, Rabbi Heather Miller spoke on "radical amazement". She shared that radical amazement is not something to be practiced on occasion, but a state in which we can live our lives. This idea struck a chord in my heart and I had one of those moments when the skies part and everything becomes clear. Radical amazement - of course! It makes so much sense!
I decided to make a divine experiment out of "radical amazement". Upon awakening, I'm doing my best to treat every moment as if it were miraculous. Before I get out of bed, I surrender my day to Love and take a moment to be amazed at how effortlessly my body works for me. I allow myself to be amazed by the capacity of my lungs, the steadiness of my heart beat, the sensitivity of my skin ... it's truly amazing! I rarely stop to think of everything that my body does naturally, and I definitely don't give it enough thanks! Now that I'm practicing radical amazement every breath holds significance.
I turn on the faucet and clean, drinkable water pours out - amazing! I brush my teeth and am amazed by the craftsmanship of my toothbrush, I'm blown away by the soap and shampoo, and don't get me started on indoor plumbing... who came up with this stuff? It's amazing!
You can see where this is leading. As I deepen my practice of radical amazement, I see the brilliance of life. I'm more aware of everything that's unfolding around me. The trees are helping oxygenate the planet, the insects are pollenating the flowers, the sun is sustaining all this life. When we're present and aware, it naturally induces a state of amazement.
It's hard work to stay focused on what isn't working, what you don't like, what irritates and annoys. If you can, take note of how it feels physically next time you catch yourself complaining ... it's exhausting!
What we place our attention on multiplies. My friend Mark pointed out that when taken literally, the word appreciate means to raise in value. Do you appreciate the gifts in your life? I encourage you to consider taking on a practice of radical amazement. It won't take long until you realize that the life of your dreams is already here - you just couldn't see it before because you were too busy appreciating what you thought was missing. Miracles are inspired by a shift in perception. To state it simply: change your mind about your life ... and your life will change.
Isn't that amazing?!