You Don't Have To Escape To Feel Alive

I wonder how many things we miss because we feel we have seen it before or simply because we are looking at the wrong things to wake us up?

Confession: I am having the blahs. I just returned from leading a Manifestation Retreat and I have this empty feeling, as if I came back a shell. Having left the meat of me somewhere in Monteriggioni, inside the walled city, perhaps eating gelato.

One of the many things I always ask my retreat attendees to do is carry their journals around with them. No matter where they are. Whether they're in Siena eating a slice of pizza, or in Florence with the ghosts of the Ponte Vecchio, long dead but still floating around with their gold and jewels somewhere just above the ether.

I ask them to carry their Awe and Wonder Journals and jot down every single thing that caused them to feel awe or wonder. Whether it was a conversation with someone who didn’t speak a word of English, or the way the Tuscan hills looked at 9:30 at night as the sun was going to bed, or a piece of Pecorino cheese and the way it lingered in the mouth waiting for the perfect splash of Chianti to join it before descending.

It doesn’t matter how big or small the things they jot down are. What matters is that they're paying attention to the things that made them feel alive. To the things that made them stop and say wow.

I want more things to stop me in my tracks.

I want more things to make me ask questions.

I want more things to make me feel connected to something bigger than myself, longer standing than myself, and way beyond what I can ever understand.

Those type of things.

Whether it is a too-hot piece of pizza in Rome or a moody sky in Paris. Whether it is the high ceilings at Ebbio in Siena (where I lead my Tuscany retreats) and how they've been that high for 800 years, or the way the olive oil tasted and how time seems slower there, as if it has nowhere to be.

I ask them to be filled with awe and wonder and to bring their journals around so they wouldn’t forget.

It’s easy to forget. Or to not look in the first place.

It’s like my beloved Mary Oliver says: Their willingness to be attentive!

Are you willing to be attentive? To allow yourself more moments of awe and wonder and inspiration and grace?

I came back and now feel empty because, in some way, I think I believe it's only possible when I am away. That when I'm here, in my normal life, in the real world, I must go back to feeling like the same old me.

Sure, my retreats are a cocoon of love and safety. Sure, the food tastes different, and the sky lingers longer than it does at home, and I don't have to deal with emails and bills and traffic and making breakfast and social media.

But what I realized is that: I can be Italy anywhere; I can be Paris anywhere. I can be awe and wonder anywhere. I just have to be awake.

What I mean is: I don't have to escape to feel alive.

I don't have to get away to remember the beauty around me or inside of me, to pick up small tokens of beauty wherever I am, on the sidewalk or in a conversation.

I simply have to allow it.

I simply have to take out my Awe and Wonder Journal and pay attention.

No, I won’t have the same treasures here. I won’t be able to duck into a Parisian cafe in the rain and snap photos of the macaroons or take the train and watch buildings speak their stories of defense and heartbreak and disintegration from centuries or eat Brie and actually enjoy it because it does taste different in France. And the wine in Italy. The wine in Italy is its own treasure.

All I have to do is keep being who I am, and the right people will show up. Same with you.

And then pay attention.

And then be awe.

Be wonder.

List all the things below that bring you Awe and Wonder, my beloved Tribe. Can't wait to read your awe and wonder lists!

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