There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
When the year of 2018 was first new, instead of making resolutions that I knew I wouldn’t keep, I chose an intention that represented how I wanted live out the year.
I chose to live it - in "WONDER".
When you wonder, you say yes to the world.
"YES" started things.
I CHANGED A MORNING RITUAL
Instead of letting out the dogs in the morning, begrudging the interruption to my meditation and writing: I decided to be curious about the temperature; the sensation of the air, rain and sometimes snow on my skin; the color of the sky; and the sounds of the birds. After a while, rather then my usual practice of staying on the porch, I began stepping on the earth. It felt good to look up at the sky. I added a daily practice of spreading my arms out wide, breathing in and exhaling everything
Sometimes the sky surprised me . . .
As adults, we come to believe that wonder happens only when we have big experiences. We schedule times to experience wonder - vacations. From the beginning of 2018, I knew my long-held dreams of wondrous overseas travels would remain on hold due to ongoing family health issues (both people and dogs). Feelings of resentment and restriction were wearing on me.
A fear was growing:
"My time is going to run out before ever get the freedom to realize my dreams."
Everyday wondering didn't seem grand enough to me. It's counter to our fast-paced, cynical, give-me-bigger-and-better culture. I had forgotten the surprise and amazement that can come from watching an ant carrying something 50 times its own weight or getting a surprise visit from a box turtle.
Simple wonders are thought of as childish emotions. Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, wrote:
"If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life . . .”
DOG WALKS BECAME ADVENTURES
With an ongoing practice of appreciating small wonders of everyday life, my world began an unexpected expansion. Some days were harder than others, especially in the middle of the winter when nothing felt particularly wonderful; especially dog walks in the cold. Nature seemed colorless, quiet and too self-absorbed to offer anything of interest. Then one day, I found this impossibly bright green moss-covered log shining deep in the cold woods on one of my dog walks.
Wonder made me want to explore and know more. I found treasures.
Wonder asks us to pause, suspend our judgment and quiet our inner critic. With reluctance, I allowed wonder to take the conductor's stand in the orchestra of my thoughts and actions. Through joy, difficulties and sadness; I returned to it again and again. The song sound created by each outside morning breath began to play throughout each day.
I FOUND A RENEWED INTEREST IN THE WONDER OF CHILDREN'S BOOKS
I spent more time in the childrens' section of the bookstore and discovered a symphony of colorfully illustrated stories that refreshed my focus and reminded me of some of life's most important matters; curiosity, love, friendship and compassion. Their reviews are on this site.
The track of wonder stoked my inner fire.
I STOPPED WISHING MY LIFE AWAY
I kept a daily reminder on my mirror to look for everyday possibilities,
Noted my findings in my journal,
And with my Mom by my side, nothing could surpass the wonderful experience of creating the biggest cut flower garden we'd ever grown.
With the help of wonder, what was once ordinary and invisible became extraordinary and magical. The best time is now. I miss it already.
Alice Malsenior Walker the African-American author whose most famous novel, The Color Purple, which won both the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award wrote:
“I think us here to wonder, myself. To wonder. To ask. And that in wondering bout the big things and asking bout the big things, you learn about the little ones, almost by accident. But you never know nothing more about the big things than you start out with. The more I wonder, the more I love.”
Wonder is how we make sense of things.
Wonder is a good place to call home.
Wonder is how we fall in love with life again and again.