According to an Oxford dictionary, the word “phenomenal” has 2 main definitions or uses.
very remarkable; extra-ordinary
perceptible by the senses or through immediate experience
I find this fascinating!
Ordinarily, we might assume that something perceived through our senses isn’t remarkable, but if we think, again, it certainly is. The fact that we can perceive anything at all is an extra-ordinary feat.
This morning, I heard my teacher use “phenomenal” the second way and it struck me how significant it is to be able to perceive our world and our selves, at all. When we focus upon awareness and live our lives from a space of observation rather than dominance and control, we find that almost every, little thing in this life is remarkable. We become like little children, delighting in everything we perceive because it’s all new to us. Every interaction becomes a new and beautiful and wonder-full event in our lives!
This is my favorite aspect of living with young children, especially toddlers. We have the opportunity to refresh our minds and our thoughts, because they bring to our awareness that everything is amazing! Every aspect of life is mind-blowing!
Thankfully, we can draw this energy to ourselves every day, even without toddlers running about. It’s truly phenomenal.
Life is funny. It’s also amazing and beautiful. I think that when we don’t focus upon beauty, it’s harder to notice it in all the nuance of living. To focus upon something is to notice it more often. And, just because you’re noticing something now doesn’t mean it wasn’t always there. Attention is a gift that we get to use as we wish.
I’m going through a phase of maturity. It’s funny how we talk about that with kids, but we don’t discuss it with adults. We love watching children mature and we expect it, but when it comes to adults, we expect the opposite. We expect stagnation. Long, long years of stagnation until, suddenly, the adult is “old” and we expect them to have gained wisdom worth sharing with us.
What is wisdom but the result of maturity?
I made two prayers in deep earnest this past week and I’m glad I have the clarity to see that they’re being answered. It used to be that I would pray and then spend time feeling despondent because I thought my prayers were being ignored. Back then, I didn’t understand that answered prayers don’t always look the way you want or expect them to look. I mistakenly assumed that if a prayer wasn’t answered the way I wanted to see it, that meant it hadn’t been answered.
Part of maturing is understanding then accepting that things don’t have to be the way you want them in order for them to be true.
I think our societies and cultures are going through a maturation phase right now and I’m not sure how we’re faring. There is a lot of pushback against progressive, humane ideas and there is also a lot of nonsense being promoted as progress. Diversity of thought is still one of the things I find most interesting about humanity. No one is creating these things we call thoughts or ideas; they just descend upon us. And, we nurture them and take their growth and assimilation very personal. But, they don’t even belong to us!
Maybe our maturity doesn’t belong to us, either. Maybe maturity is a function of grace. I can accept that all I’ve done is prayed to be a better person, to have more clarity. I just desired and asked and focused. I accept that I haven’t done anything wholly unto myself.
That is maturity. Accepting that we aren’t living this life by our power alone is maturity. It’s humility. I used to think humility meant thinking I am less than, but now I know it simply means knowing that I am not all there is, that I am not the most. And, not being the most does not inherently equate to being less than.
For years, I could not understand or accept that. But, through grace, I now understand (and I don’t mind understanding or standing under something, because I know the power of bridges) and accept that humility is about perspective, not size.
With that humility, I can see answered prayers with more clarity. When I ask for support focusing upon my business endeavors and an opportunity for community disappears from my life, I don’t have to lament the loss because I remember the prayer. I am humble enough to accept the rationale that the more time I spend in community, the less time I’m spending on my business endeavors. I can greet that shift (because it’s not a loss) with a “Hallelujah”.
With that humility, when I ask to more fully understand why something happened to me in the past and I keep feeling the urge to watch YouTube videos that touch on more fruitful ways to move through loss and purpose, I understand that my prayers are being answered.
Some would call it coincidence, but I’ve lived enough to accept that there are no coincidences. There is only grace.
In this moment, I appreciate the divine guidance of my life. I appreciate the prayers that have been prayed for and over me. I appreciate the clarity and insight and maturity and humility I have been able to apply to my vantage point.
What a beautiful lens grace and humility and maturity create. It reminds me of those oft-lamented rose-colored glasses.
If this is what wearing rose-colored glasses is like, I’m okay. I’m going to rock these babies!