Why I choose to see everything as a miracle

Cape Town is the most beautiful city in the world.

There are cities that have left me in awe of their religious significance, those that inspire me with their history, those that are fun and full of sights to see and experiences to have. But Cape Town? Come on, best ever. How often do you really think about that?

I remember, in my childhood, my Mom would snap me out of whatever daydream I was dreaming to say, “Look, B, look!” and drag me back into present time to acknowledge some lovely thing that was happening in front of us. 

I remember being exasperated by this most of the time. Yes, the sunset is lovely. Yes, that’s a pretty flower, now please let me go back into my head! Forward 30 years, and I do exactly the same thing to my daughters. 

I live in the foothills of one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature (how does that even happen?) and every morning the drive to school offers us a breathtaking view of Table Mountain in all her glory. 

Every day is an artwork. The light hits the rock-faces in slightly different ways, the flora changes with the season, the sky is always showing off. And each morning I say “Look, girls, look!” and they dutifully come back into present time to acknowledge the lovely thing happening in front of us.

Acknowledging beauty in the world around us serves many purposes. 

Firstly, it creates an opportunity to be mindful. Mindfulness helps us to reduce stress and increase our mental functioning, emotional regulation and self-control. It takes us out of our memories of the past and our worries for the future and into what is actually here and now. 

Secondly, it brings Gd and goodness into our daily lives. I know a lovely Muslim man who, in conversation once remarked how much he respects Judaism because it brings Gd into every aspect of day-to-day life, not just at prayer times, or in holy spaces. 

Gd is acknowledged when we eat, when we show gratitude (Baruch Hashem!) and even when we experience something for the first time. His words made me relook at how much I was practicing his observation in my everyday life and  I conciously tweaked where I could.

And thirdly, and perhaps a bit darkly, history has shown us time and time again that bad things can, and do, happen, sometimes very suddenly. 

I want to make sure that if everything I love and enjoy is gone tomorrow I had appreciated it all as fiercely and with as much energy as I could have. With no regrets. 

I try to look at items in my home with fresh eyes, to truly see them, hold them and enjoy them. I try to acknowledge Table Mountain each day as if it is the last time I will ever see her, (one day I will be right). And most importantly — and ironically the greatest challenge of all whilst in the trenches of parenthood — I try to see my children with fresh eyes too. There is a limited time that I have them in my home as a captive audience of three. 

For me, parenthood often feels like a mixture of being an air traffic controller and a laundromat so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and forget to look at the wondrous moments created each day. Recognising the small, beautiful things in our lives is a kind of soul food, and I think for the most part we are hungry.

As Einstein may have once remarked: “there are two ways to live. You can live as if nothing is a miracle or you can live as if everything is a miracle.” 

You really do have the choice, which one do you choose?

To read the June issue of the Chronicle online, click here
To read about Martin Margolius’ leap off Signal Hill, click here
To read about singing sensation Josh Abrams, click here
To find out more about the Winter Warmer Campaign, click here



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