“As soon as I saw the house, I knew my life would be changed forever,” she says. The country farmhouse in England is bought and a new path is forged. This is an example of an unexpected find which spins life on a new axis.
It’s these moments in life that we crave. The unexpected good news, the fortunate find, a sudden shift in perspective that makes everything clear and our future somehow predictable. “I know who I am, my purpose, and my path!” We read the biographies of such people who have an epiphany, and wish the same would happen to us.
As romantic as this sounds, life is rarely this simple and peak experiences rarely come from out of nowhere like a bolt of lightning. Rather, as American psychologist Abraham Maslow describes, if we are to have ‘peak experiences’ in life we need to practise them. Maslow, who loved listening to Romantic composers and watching birds, trained his patients to stare intently at a flower, believing that “the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbours, friends, and family, in one’s backyard.”
While modern life directs us to seek ‘peak experiences’ online, in shopping, eating, and holidaying about, or finding the perfect renovation project, we might be better served to adopt the English idiom to “stop and smell the roses”. It’s sound advice.