12 Ways to Encounter the Extraordinary Everywhere
Rainbows, Kittencorns, and Quantum Physics
Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary is practicing presence, gratitude, and curiosity. It’s like a treasure hunt. It’s the golden touch. It’s discovering something magnificent within typical situations. And now, more than ever, it’s essential — or else life may begin to feel like Groundhog Day.
“Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.” — Phil, Groundhog Day
Often, we search for material things and extraordinary experiences to make us happy. We shop for stuff. We seek validation from others. We travel the world for inspiration — or watch the Hollywood version. We devour books to learn and transport our minds to more interesting places. But the extraordinary can be found right where you are. It is within you and around you, all the time. It’s only our perception that changes.
“We must remember that everything is ordinary and extraordinary. It is our minds that either open or close.” — Natalie Goldberg
When we become truly curious about the present we can experience everything — each task, taste, touch, sight, sound — as if for the very first time, which is intrinsically extraordinary. We transform ourselves and therefore our relationship with the now. This takes serious presence. That’s hard. We’re highly skilled multitaskers — when we’re not multitasking, we multitask (as I paint my nails, post to Instagram and make tea whilst writing).
“We are the generation capable of doing many things at once, without enjoying any of them.” — Dinesh Kumar Biran
How interesting does something need to be to be extraordinary? How much time must be invested to invoke the extraordinary? Not very and none at all. Notice the voracious curiosity with which a child sees the world — continuously learning, discovering, and exploring what it means to be alive? Every breath takes their breath away. Why?
Truly seeing details expands interest. Examining, realizing, savoring, celebrating the minutiae of the moment becomes an adventure. A blasé view is suddenly saturated in vivid color. A song instantly turns us into an ’80s rockstar. A droplet on the shower door sparkles like a jewel. A cup of gelato is Italy. A blasé attitude transmutes to one of awe.
“When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.” — Walt Disney
These scrumptious realizations and acknowledgements of the extraordinary are simply, profoundly, a result of being present. They can take grown-up breath away too, anytime, all the time.
Though we may feel as though our lives are ordinary — working hard, living modestly, same food, same chores, same routines — we’re actually living extraordinarily. We only need to open (or close!) our eyes, tune in, and be grateful for what we have rather than wish for more.
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” — G.K. Chesterton
Oh but it’s not all gratitude, rainbows and kittencorns, or new age’y manifesting magic. It’s neuroplasticity and quantum physics.
When we continuously seek the extraordinary, our brain creates new neural pathways. As we practice, those pathways deepen, the seeking becomes habitual, then natural. By changing the way we think and feel, the electromagnetic signature we broadcast changes — the electric thoughts we send out are extraordinary, the magnetic feelings we draw back are extraordinary — we’re interacting with the quantum field. And voila, we’re effortlessly not only finding the extraordinary, we’re living it and the ordinary is extraordinary.
“Can you accept the notion that once you change your internal state, you don’t need the external world to provide you with a reason to feel joy, gratitude, appreciation, or any other elevated emotion?” — Dr. Joe Dispenza
So, how do I practice living the extraordinary daily, with a toddler to care for, a household to maintain, a business to run, relationships to nurture, self-care, relaxation (hahahaha)?
Breathe. Simple. Easy. Just have to remember to use this time-freezing, nervous system calming, rejuvenating tool. Not only does this technique buy you time to alchemize some ordinary into the extra, but it blasts the brain with oxygen, and… You never know what you might smell!
Stop. That’s it. Just stand there and wait a while (loads of opportunity for this when you’re wee one regularly lays down on the ground).
Look. Not a fleeting, sweeping glance, a real look — get closer. Examine a leaf, a snail (a current fav in our toddler ruled world), a tree, the typography on a poster or the torn edges where the glue has come up. Notice motion, colors, minute details you’ve never before seen — maybe even touch them.
Listen. To nature — birds, the sea, whatever’s going on outside. Or purposefully, consciously tune into a song of your choice, as if it’s the most interesting set of sounds in the whole wide world. Feel it.
Special’ize. For a random lunch, fancify the table — or yourself. Maybe you turn it into a picnic, outside or in. Break out the special occasion lipstick or shoes. Light the save-for-a-rainy-day candles.
Dangerize. Juvenile perhaps, fun for sure. Envision a crocodile awaiting your step off the curb. Imagine what the mothership looks like, from the inside. Visualize yourself all James Bond’y parkour’ing across skyscrapers. Or maybe Temple of Doom is more your thing.
Perform. Prescribe traits to what you see — the taste of blue, the accent of the cat, the sex appeal of the city… Turn the experience into a sweet poem, heartfelt song (or rap), or acceptance speech — perform it for yourself (or your toddler).
Drop. Kneel down to toddler level and check out the view. Dogs are the size of ponies. Chins look so strange. There are treats and treasures all over the sidewalk.
Create. Did you once love to draw or write? Grab your choice medium and make something snazzy. Maybe you versatilize — paint a rock, write on a leaf, or chalk your signature doodle on a sidewalk. Or journal, as a one-off activity or a discipline.
Move. Dance, yoga, tai chi — or any combination or invention of your own — but be the god(dess) of what you do, graceful or dynamic or dramatic. And consider wearing a tiara or leather jacket (even if only in your mind) whilst doing it.
Gratitude. By being grateful for something we desire as if we already have it, truly conjuring the emotions, experiencing the way it feels to have — we’re not in lack. We’re in abundance.
Meditate. In the inner world, everything is extraordinary.
I’d love to hear how you encounter the extraordinary during ordinary times!