Grace Notes

a blog about life’s everyday magic

July 29, 2019

23 Ways to Stop Living Life on Autopilot

23 Ways to Stop Living Life on Autopilot

Photo credit: Adri Webber

Bella Grace’s 5th birthday is rapidly approaching (cue fireworks!), and we are taking a trip down memory lane to celebrate.

While recalling our favorite articles from past issues, we remembered how much we loved “23 Ways to Stop Living on Autopilot” and thought we’d share it with you here on Grace Notes today. This collection of inspiration for being more intentional with each moment was featured in Bella Grace Issue 7!

23 Ways to Stop Living Life on Autopilot


  1. I thread parts of my journey like a memory catcher. I play the radio loud to create a mood. I play “I spy” along the way. I search for animals, signs in nature to highlight the ordinary path. Sometimes I pick a color to focus on, like searching for all things red in nature.

— Ella Wilson

  1. I have a “watch” that instead of numbers on its face simply says “NOW” in big, bold black-and-white letters to remind me there is no time but now.

— Vickie Kammerer

  1. I’ve learned to limit my planning. Too much living is missed in planning for moments that may never arrive.

— Kim Collister

  1. The secret is to fully embrace all that seems uneventful: the cleaning, the cooking, the groceries, the to-do lists are all full of opportunity to connect with my soul and create a beautiful, peaceful life.

— Frances Peets

  1. I wait to get up out of bed and brush my hands through my baby’s hair after a sleepless night. I wrap my fingers around my grandmother’s Swedish mug and I sit and sip my coffee, slowly. I put on a record and dance atop the old wood floor in my little living room. I put on my blazer, look out onto the avenue below and write whatever comes to mind. I hold a pipe in my hands because it soothes me. I wonder and dream and some days need a nap. I sing out loud because I’m not afraid even though I don’t know how. I must do these things. The world tells me I’m wasting my time, but I don’t mind a bit. They can have the blur of this life. I’ll cling to the spaces in time where I meet with myself, in the quiet moments of the day.

— Jennifer Lynn Chapman

  1. Art! There is art all around me. Putting the breaks on life slowing to a stop to really appreciate the beauty that surrounds me. The curvatures, lines, and light … the movement of water without sound. Art. It’s a Divine distraction.

— Brandi J Myers

  1. Something about my camera, having that lens to my eye, allows me to see differently, to find the pockets of magic in everyday life. I’m learning to see, not just look.

— Paula Bogdan

  1. I have a half-hour dance party for myself almost every night when I get home from work. I am not a good singer, but I will sing aloud to the songs on my playlists or crank them up to 11 and get really into it.

— Heather Taylor

  1. I lay on the floor! Read a book under the Christmas tree, eat lunch under the table with the kids, watch a movie from a behind-the-couch tent, play games in front of the stove while dinner cooks. The floor is the place to be. Barefoot, arms spread eagle wide, looking at the world upside down.

— Jaime Michelle

  1. Really listen. At the end of the day, journal one new thing that you learned just by listening to someone or something you normally might tune out.

— Joanne Lacey McDade

  1. Take a moment to verbally express the beauty of the present moment.


  1. I often just stop to take a photograph of an everyday event or scene to keep me in the moment.


  1. I recently began photo documenting my Saturdays. It’s a way for me to stay present all day to the beautiful moments of home and family life. Some days I only take one image, other days it’s an hourly practice.

— Vanessa Simpson

  1. I always keep a camera nearby. It makes me look at the world in a different way when I try to imagine it through a lens. It’s amazing how often something worth a picture happens when you’re aware and paying attention.


  1. I make a conscious effort to put my phone down. How much beauty have I missed out on while gazing at that screen? Nothing on my phone screen can be as beautiful as the landscapes around me

— Mary Johnson Yant

  1. Surround yourself with people and things that inspire you! People are the greatest treasures and if you find friends who can always remind you of who you are and what you were made for, you’re golden.


  1. Try to do something new each day. A new stitch, drive to work a different way, add a new ingredient to dinner. Just the little things.


  1. I do exactly as the inner youngster in me calls me to. As a child, no day was mundane. They were filled with the joyous wonder of adventure.


  1. I stop myself throughout the day, take a deep breath and become keenly in touch with the sights, sounds, and smells around me. I focus on the details of these sensory experiences so that I can be truly present.


  1. I listen to my heart and follow it. I follow it to whatever wild and crazy adventure it leads me on. When my heart tells me to do something new and daring, I do it.

— Lacie Fitts

  1. I take off my shoes. Whether I’m at my desk, driving, walking on the sidewalk, at the lake, or in my yard. Feeling the cool moist earth, or the warmth of the sun-kissed sidewalk cement makes me feel so free and alive. It lets me be a little wild in an all too uptight world. It reminds me to ground myself and wake up.

— Kelly Jackson

  1. I look up. I sky watch. I hunt for wild birds, wayward clouds, scattered branches across my view … anything to remind me that this very moment is never ordinary. Never.


  1. I seek out one new thing I’ve never noticed before.

— Michelle Simmons


Be sure to keep an eye out for upcoming Bella Grace birthday festivities that you won’t want to miss!

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Comments ( 3 )

  1. Ella

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    This is so, lovely like a memory quilt stitched with wonder! ~ Gosh, I got goosebumps to see I was part of Bella’s list-thank you!

    Bella Grace-you have changed so, many lives showing us how to seek magic moments in the ordinary! Bella Grace has built a community which shares the simple magic of their heart’s lens- with soulful poems, photos that make us gasp and reset our spirit with new intentions, and words that plant inspiration and encourage us to find glints of magic in our daily grind!

    Bella taught me this:

    ” Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.”
    -Denis Waitley

    Happy Birthday Bella Grace! xo

  2. Dee Ladyman

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    I fell in love with Bella Grace from the first time I saw it. It has helped me so much during the sickness of my husband of fifty nine years. It makes me realize I had everything and still have a wonderful life. When I need some time away from everyone, I take my Bella Grace, drive somewhere to get a cup of coffee or tea and read it. It is the greatest medicine I know to relieve my stress, remember the wonderful times with him and calms me. It also reminds to my family is so important and that your life is what you make of it. You are never to old to enjoy your lif.

  3. Sherrie Woods

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    I am completely inspired by Bella Grace! I can’t believe I have lived without this magazine and so grateful that I found it. I am older but I sure can relate to so many of the stories and it’s such a pleasure to just sit with a cup of tea and get lost in the stories and go to other places in my mind. Thank you to everyone!

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