What is Wonder?
If you've spent much time around children, it's easy to see that their experience of the world is often wonder. Curiosity and questions abound from an innate wonder about the world around them. Children see the world as fresh and exciting, responding with joy and delight that make them open to possibilities.
Maybe you remember experiences like this from your own childhood? I do.
Many adults, however, seem to wind up disconnected from that childlike sense of wonder. It takes conscious effort to stay connected to awe amidst paying the bills, voting, tracking the latest news and the million other adulting tasks we juggle.
So, what is wonder and how to do we stay connected to it so that our lives can stay full of possibility as we age?
For the last ten years, I've made it part of my work to cultivate a spiritual and creative practice, in part out of necessity. What I have found is that the work of pursuing personal and spiritual growth creates a natural sense of wonder and divine inspiration.
For me, this work takes many forms: making art, being in nature, dance, prayer, mediation, journaling. There is no one way to cultivate wonder, but prioritizing a connection to it has had a profoundly transformative impact on my life and work. Admittedly, this work takes both careful shielding from media and active juggling of responsibilities as a modern adult. Navigating this gracefully isn't always easy, but there is power in making our natural connection to wonder a priority.
When I'm feeling bombarded by the mundane and chaotic patterns of life, one of the easiest ways to cultivate wonder is to get moving in nature or to spend time playing with kids. Watch a documentary, dance to a song you love, cook or eat a meal you enjoy...whatever it looks like for you, prioritize joy.
Simple joys allow us to decompress from compounding stress and reconnect to the wonders of being in a human body on this tiny rock orbiting a ball of burning gas in an infinite sea of galaxies.
Just pausing to comprehend the paradox of how insignificant and deeply meaningful my one life is-- your one life is-- is enough to at least bring me back to state of receptivity for wonder.
Wonder is receptivity to any experience anchored by a belief in imminent joy and endless possibility. Wonder on, my dear human.
PS) As I wrote the last paragraph of this post, a butterfly flew past me. This is one of my signs that I asked the universe to show me when I am on the right path. As my eyes followed the butterfly, they came to rest on a $20 bill sitting on the ground next to my table at my favorite outdoor cafe here in the Bay. I wonder who lost it and what the story is. Peacefully, I don't need to wonder what the universe is telling me for that is abundantly clear and a story for another time.